From an article written by AZoNano:
According to a new research work, a nanolaser called the spaser is capable of acting as a water-soluble, super-bright, biocompatible probe that has the potential to find metastasized cancer cells in the blood stream and then kills these cells.
From the research, it was clear that the spaser could be used as an optical probe and when discharged into the body (possibly via an injection or drinking a solution), it can locate and target circulating tumor cells (CTCs), stick to them and then destroy these cells by breaking them apart in order to prevent cancer metastases. The spaser, after absorbing laser light, heats up, generates shock waves in the cell and eventually destroys the cell membrane. These findings can be found in the Nature Communications journal.
The spaser represents surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. It is a nanoparticle that is about 20 nm in size or hundreds of times smaller than human cells. As it has folic acid attached to its surface, selective molecular targeting of cancer cells is possible. Usually overexpressed on the surface of most human cancer cells, the folate receptor is poorly expressed in normal cells.
This discovery was brought about by Scientists at Georgia State University, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science.