26th December 09:50
Interesting research...'Gold shells can kill inoperable tumors'
"Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003"
"Gold shells can kill inoperable tumours
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Tiny golden "nanoshells" offer a new way to kill inoperable tumours
without harming surrounding tissue, according to a study published today.
The shells, which consist of glass coated with gold, are called
nanoshells because they are a few billionths of a metre (a nanometre)
across, and mark another example of the burgeoning field of
A Texan team, led by Dr Jennifer West at Rice University, claims that the
shells could be used to treat tumours which have been hard to target
Most solid tumours are removed by surgery but there are some that are
impossible to remove because they are so small, mingled with surrounding
tissue or located within a vital organ or tissue.
There are ways to deal with inoperable tumours but they often damage
healthy tissue too. Now Dr West's team has found a way to kill these
cells by combining two harmless treatments - nanoshells and infrared
(heat) laser light which passes harmlessly through normal tissue.
In today's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr West says
her team designed the nanoshells to absorb this particular frequency of
near-infrared light. The nanoshells warmed rapidly so that they could be
used selectively to "cook" and kill tumours."