Scientists have created a method to detect tiny tumors and track their spread using light-emitting nanoparticles.

The technology could lead to earlier cancer detection, more precise treatments, and even improvement in patient cure rates and survival times.

“We’ve always had this dream that we can track the progression of cancer in real time, and that’s what we’ve done here,” says Prabhas V. Moghe, a corresponding author of the study and professor of biomedical engineering and chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers University. “We’ve tracked the disease in its very incipient stages.”

The study shows that the new method is better than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other cancer surveillance technologies.

“The Achilles’ heel of surgical management for cancer is the presence of micro metastases. This is also a problem for proper staging or treatment planning. The nanoprobes described in this paper will go a long way to solving these problems,” says Steven K. Libutti, director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, senior vice president of oncology services for RWJBarnabas Health, and vice chancellor for cancer programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Image Credit:  Heyerlein/Unsplash

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