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Nanoscale gene 'ignition switch' may help spot and treat cancer
Date:12/15/2010

the radioactive labels and normal ones that were not.

"This type of imaging technique has the potential to add to existing tools with more specificity in identifying the problem," says Pomper.

Pomper says that the technique could likely be used in any cancer, and the nanoparticle and HSV1tk gene used in the current study have been tested previously in clinical studies unrelated to Pomper's work.

In addition to diagnostic and monitoring tools, the technique could be designed to deliver therapies to the heart of cancer cells. One approach, he says is to use radioactive isotopes to make cancer cells radioactive from the inside, instead of delivering radiation to the patient externally.

Still, Pomper says, such a technique would be limited to identifying tumors that are two millimeters or larger, amounting to millions of cells, because current imaging devices cannot detect anything smaller. He also says that certain doses of nanoparticles could be toxic, so his team is conducting tests to find the best nanoparticle.


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Contact: Vanessa Wasta
wasta@jhmi.edu
410-955-1287
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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