VIRGINIA TEAM TO PUBLISH ON USING NANO FOR BRAIN CANCER IMAGING, TREATMENT
By A.J. Hostetler Richmond Times - Dispatch
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Virginia researchers are loading tiny, hollow carbon balls with metals and medicine they say could improve the ability to detect and destroy brain-cancer cells. Brain cancers are rare but often deadly. Cancerous cells often stray from the main tumor, making them difficult to find. They're troublesome to treat, in part because many medicines can't get from the bloodstream into the brain, and tricky to remove.
Stray tumor cells can be difficult to image with current techniques such as MRIs, X-rays or CT scans. They are the same cells that are most likely to lead to another bout of brain cancer, Broaddus said. Finding new ways to make cancer cells stand out against the brain's normal tissue when imaged could help improve the precision when the tumor is removed surgically and improve a patient's chance of surviving, he said.
So far, Fatouros and Broaddus have experimented with infusing rats' brains with buckyballs filled with the metal gadolinium. Broaddus said the addition of gadolinium makes it a "super-duper" contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging. Loading the buckyballs for better MRIs is just the first step. Next, the team plans to light up the buckyball like a Christmas tree by stuffing it with the fluorescing metal terbium. Terbium could someday guide surgeons like Broaddus as they surgically remove tumors and try to ensure they get rid of those stray cells.
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