Navigation Links
Catching the early spread of breast cancer

DALLAS, March 19, 2014 When cancer spreads from one part of the body to another, it becomes even more deadly. It moves with stealth and can go undetected for months or years. But a new technology that uses "nano-flares" has the potential to catch these lurking, mobilized tumor cells early on. Today, scientists presented the latest advances in nano-flare technology as it applies to the detection of metastatic breast cancer cells.

The report was one of more than 10,000 at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The meeting is taking place here through Thursday.

"We've taken perhaps the world's most important molecule, DNA, rearranged it into a spherical shape and modified it to detect specific molecules inside cells. These structures naturally enter cells and light up when they detect disease-causing molecules," said Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., who is collaborating with C. Shad Thaxton, M.D., Ph.D., to develop the new technology. "We're seeing if we can use nano-flares to create a new type of breast cancer diagnostic, and the early results are remarkable. Nano-flares could completely and radically change how we diagnose breast cancer."

Earlier is better when it comes to cancer detection, but sometimes, by the time a patient notices symptoms and visits a doctor, the first tumor has already spread from its original location in the body to another. It has undergone "metastasis," a state that causes many deaths related to cancer. Cancer took the lives of more than 8 million people worldwide in 2012.

To catch breast cancer and possibly other types of cancers earlier, the research groups built upon Mirkin's ongoing program that kicked off in the 1990s with the invention of "spherical nucleic acids" (SNAs). SNAs are usually made out of a gold nanoparticle core covered with densely packed, short strands of DNA.

"We thought that if we could get large amounts of nucleic acids to go inside cells, we could manipulate and measure things inside cells," said Mirkin, of Northwestern University. "Most people said we were wasting our time, but then out of curiosity, we put these particles in cell culture. Not only did we find that they go in, they went in better than any material known to man."

Taking advantage of their ability to enter cells easily, Mirkin's group set out to turn SNAs into a diagnostic tool the nano-flare. Recently, he and Thaxton designed these particles, which enter circulating healthy and unhealthy cells in blood samples, but light up only inside breast cancer cells.

"Nano-flares can detect just a few cancer cells in a sea of healthy cells," Mirkin said. "That's important because when cancer spreads, only a few cells may break off from the original tumor and go into the bloodstream. An added bonus of these particles is that scientists may be able to sample the live cancerous cells and figure out what therapies they might respond to."

The groups have successfully tested the nano-flares' ability to identify metastatic breast cancer cells in blood samples from animals and are currently experimenting with human samples.

"If the work pans out, a commercial diagnostic test could be available in the near future," Thaxton said.

In addition to diagnostics, it turns out nano-flares can be used to perform other unique and valuable tasks.

"Nano-flares represent the only way to measure genetic content in live cells," Mirkin said. This kind of real-time observation could be useful in many areas of research and could lead to clinical advances. For example, using nano-flares, scientists can see how drugs target different genes. This would help them develop better treatments. One company, Millipore, has already commercialized the particles for use in research labs under the name SmartFlaresTM and offers more than 1,200 variations.


Contact: Michael Bernstein
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)

Contact: Katie Cottingham, Ph.D.
214-853-8005 (Dallas Press Center, March 14-19)

American Chemical Society


Related medicine news :

1. Early detection of childhood eye cancer doesnt always improve survival, prevent eye loss
2. Primary androgen deprivation therapy ineffective for most men with early prostate cancer
3. PSA-testing and early treatment decreases risk of prostate cancer death
4. Early detection helps manage a chronic graft-vs.-host disease complication
5. Food allergy nearly doubles among black children
6. Mandatory arrest in domestic violence call-outs causes early death in victims
7. Type 1 diabetes: Vitamin D deficiency occurs in an early stage
8. Study shows preventive ovarian surgery in BRCA1 mutation carriers should be performed early
9. Frequent school moves can increase the risk of psychotic symptoms in early adolescence
10. LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die early
11. New study explains how dense breast tissue drives the early stages of cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer ... through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading ... a one size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as ... City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set of ... or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, Serenity ... event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, guilt, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 ... by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of ... honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: