New research shows nanoparticles could help identify cancer cells in a blood sample after surgery.
The research claims nanoparticles, or 'nanoflares,' can attach to cancer cells in the blood sample and be detected with lasers once they're attached, according to MIT. This will make it easier to know if all cancer tissue has been removed after a surgery, instead of the wait time usually associated with taking scans months later.
The nanoflares are made of "a chunk of gold coated with fluorescent molecules and snippets of DNA." The DNA matches with the RNA found in the specific cancer cells so they will come together, and the subsequent bond releases fluorescent molecules that make the cancer cells glow.
The first tests they did were with breast cancer particles in mice, and the nanoparticle experiment was successful. They claim it will still be some time before nanoflare tests will be approved for helping treat cancer.
The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences