For the scientific community is a very important and promising research methodology of advancing cancer and proof that the nanotechnology or device design and molecules to microscopic scales is one of the great current strengths oncology.
The technique used by the Rutgers researchers is based on nanoparticles that emit light to identify and trace microtumors several months in advance of the capacity of other conventional imaging technologies.
The team that designed it is optimistic about the possibilities of using them in a clinical way in the near future. According to Prabhas V. Moghe, one of the authors of the study and professor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, “we have always dreamed about the possibility of tracking the progression of cancer in real time , and that is what we have achieved with our research. We have detected the disease in its most incipient state.”
The method of their study, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering , is considered better and more effective than magnetic resonance and other imaging technologies in detecting small and early cancerous tumors. To achieve this, Rutgers’ scientific team used mice with breast cancer that were injected with optical waveguides that emit short-wave light as they move into the bloodstream.
According to account Vidya Ganapathy, one of the coauthors of the study and professor researcher in the department of biomedical engineering at Rutgers, ” the cancer cells can stay in many different niches of the body and this optical device continues to cells in their progress wherever they go. That way you can treat the disease better, because you know where the tumor is going to spread.”
If compared with MRI, the optical nanoparticles were much more agile to detect the expansion of microtumors in the adrenal glands and bones of mice, which could allow advance in several months at the time of treatment.
More effective than any other detection method
Other methods of detection such as computerized topographies and biopsies can be effective, but usually do not locate micrometastases or small groups of cancer cells.
If in future studies the viability of this new nanoparticle technology is confirmed, physicians will be able to diagnose and treat cancer at a stage when other detection systems are not able to locate the carcinogenic action until later.
And not only that: nanoparticles have the potential to identify more than one hundred types of cancer, according to Professor Moghe. For Steven Libutti, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey, “the Achilles heel of the surgical treatment of cancer is the presence of micrometastases, but the nanoprobes described in this research have a great future when it comes to solving this problem.”
Obviously, we still need to prove the effectiveness of this method in human patients, but any improvement in the detection of cancer should be celebrated as it deserves aand it is only in the United States, it is expected that in 2017 there will be 1,688,780 new cases of cancer and 600,920 deaths from this disease.
According to Moghe, this nanoparticle technology could be available in five years, which is very encouraging.