Our modern armamentarium for treating cancer is impressive, but sometimes despite our best treatments, tumor cells continue to lurk in the bloodstream, seeding metastases throughout the body. Researchers at Emory have developed a way to monitor for these circulating tumor cells using gold nanoparticles.
This technique has been used before, but difficulty was encountered because white blood cells are close to the same size as some tumor cells, so they would both be tagged, necessitating a laborious multi-antibody staining process.
“The key technological advance here is our finding that polymer-coated gold nanoparticles that are conjugated with low molecular weight peptides such as EGF are much less sticky than particles conjugated to whole antibodies,” says Shuming Nie, Ph.D., a professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “This effect has led to a major improvement in discriminating tumor cells from non-tumor cells in the blood.”
Once these tumor cells are tagged with the gold nanoparticles, laser illumination reveals which cells are tumors in the bloodstream. This technique was tested on 19 patients with head and neck cancer, and showed excellent correlation with previous techniques. If this method can be validated in larger studies, it shows promise as a faster, more economical method to detect circulating tumor cells.
Full story: Nanoparticles May Enhance Circulating Tumor Cell Detection …
Abstract in Cancer Research : Quantification of circulating tumor cells in peripheral blood using EGFR-targeting gold nanoparticles
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
I’ve been traveling in Europe, including giving a talk at the Salzburg Global Seminar on involving and informing patients in healthcare decisions. In that presentation, I talked about promotion of a newer form of cancer radiation therapy called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
So I want to point out that while I’ve been away the Wall Street Journal published an important piece on this very topic under the headline “A Device to Kill Cancer, Lift Revenue.” An excerpt:
Roughly one in three Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with prostate cancer today gets a sophisticated form of radiation therapy called IMRT. Eight years ago, virtually no patients received the treatment.
The story behind the sharp rise in the use of IMRT—which stands for intensity-modulated radiation therapy—is about more than just the rapid adoption of a new medical technology. It’s also about financial incentives.
Taking advantage of an exemption in a federal law governing patient referrals, groups of urologists across the country have teamed up with radiation oncologists to capture the lucrative reimbursements IMRT commands from Medicare.
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*
People who’ve been diagnosed cancer can be heartened by the results of a study that will be presented June 5 at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. The researchers found that the practice of yoga helped cancer survivors improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.
The lead researcher, Dr. Karen Mustian, professor of Radiation Oncology and Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, followed 410 patients who had already completed treatment for cancer but who experienced sleep disturbance that required medication. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*