Statistics indicate that complete removal, or resection, of a tumor is the single most important predictor of patient survival for those with solid tumors. So, unsurprisingly, the first thing most patients want to know after surgery is whether the surgeon got everything. A new hand-held device called the SpectroPen could help surgeons provide a more definite and desirable answer by allowing them to see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time during surgery. Read More
One of the main problems with cancer cells is that the body's immune system generally doesn’t recognize them as enemies. By using a crippled HIV-like virus as a vehicle to arm lymphocytes with T-cell receptors, researchers have been able to genetically engineer a well-armed battalion of tumor-seeking immune system cells. By also inserting a reporter gene, which glows “hot” during positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, the researchers were able to watch in real time as these "special forces" traveled throughout the body to locate and attack dangerous melanomas. Read More
Cancer is a disease whose treatments are notoriously indiscriminate and nonspecific. Researchers have been searching for a highly targeted medical treatment that attacks cancer cells but leaves healthy tissue alone. A team of scientists at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) is working on gold nanocages that, when injected, selectively accumulate in tumors. When the tumors are later bathed in laser light, the surrounding tissue is barely warmed, but the nanocages convert light to heat, killing the malignant cells. Read More
In a world first, scientists have successfully eliminated tumors in mammals using a cancer vaccine carried into the body on a fingernail-sized implant. The new approach uses plastic disks impregnated with tumor-specific antigens and implanted under the skin to reprogram the mammalian immune system to attack tumors. Read More
Extremely sensitive nanosensor chips are being developed by Stanford University researchers in an attempt to detect the early signs of cancer, called biomarkers, in humans. The researchers say their sensor is around 1,000 times more sensitive than current technology and is accurate regardless of which bodily fluid is being analyzed. It can also detect biomarker proteins over a range of concentrations three times broader than any existing method. It is forecast that earlier detection of cancer biomarkers will lead to improved survival rates among cancer sufferers. Read More
Researchers believe nanoparticles hold the promise of battling cancer without the damaging side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. They have discovered that coating minuscule balls of iron oxide with sugar molecules not only makes them particularly attractive to resource-hungry cancer cells, it also makes them more effective by allowing them to get close to each other, but not too close to render treatment ineffective. Read More
Current heat treatments for human tumors, such as radiofrequency, have shown promising results over the last couple of decades, even though they apply only a single-point of heat to the tumor. However, a new technique could prove much more effective by using nanotubes to apply heat throughout the tumor. Scientists found that by injecting the man-made, microscopic carbon tubes into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second zap of a laser, they were able to effectively kill kidney tumors in nearly 80 percent of mice. Read More