Nanoparticles and Cancer Imaging

Nanotechnology has shown that it is capable of making large advancements in the medical field of cancer of treatment. One innovation that is significantly responsible for this success is the biomedical engineering and application of nanoparticles. Medical researchers have figured out how to manipulate and control these particles for use inside the body. Experimenting with different materials and combinations of compounds, researchers have been able to use nanoparticles as a way to introduce a contrast solution into the body to locate and create visual imaging guides of tumors. These images allow surgeons to quickly find tumors in the body, but they also provide a detailed map that surgeons can use to understand the complexity of the tumor and safely remove it. This has given surgeons an additional and effective option in cancer diagnoses; cancer imaging with fluorescent biosensors has had success in research trials and is beginning to work its way into fully developed medical product.

Nanoparticles themselves are an integral part of what makes nanotechnology successful in cancer imaging and visualization. Nanoparticles are simply molecules of different materials that exist at the size of a nanoscale. For example one of the most common nanoparticles used in cancer imaging, gold, is just a small particle of gold that has been prepared or coated with other nanoparticle substances for use in the body. The advantage of nanoparticles stems directly from their size and the cumulative effect that changes at such a micro level have on the properties of matter. Nanoparticles can locally target or infiltrate cancer and tumor cells without negatively impacting the rest of the body. In addition, even killing a tumor cell can be accomplished without hurting the rest of the body.

Specific medical treatments for cancer and tumor imaging include using c-dots, or quantum dots, as a contrast solution in bioluminescence imaging. This also includes using an alternative compound derived from colloidal gold, gold nanoparticles suspended in water, as a contrast solution instead of other more dangerous materials like cadmium. The gold solution or particles are injected inside the body and are able to attract to and seek out tumor cells thanks to a special coating. The small size of the particle allows them to infiltrate the tumor and spread throughout it. A surgeon is then able to apply a concentrated light source which activates a compound in the nanoparticle that turns the particles a fluorescent color, identifying the tumor to surgeons in immense detail.

Nanoparticles in cancer imaging and therapy are making the diagnostic of tumors possible in an efficient manner. Researchers also hope that someday diagnosis and treatment of tumors will be possible in the same day. Contact a nanotechnology company for the latest information on new nanomedicine breakthroughs and research.