Korean Team Develops Tiny Cancer Diagnosis Tool

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cancer researchKorean scientists say they have developed a diagnostic technique to discover tiny cancer cells that existing magnetic resonance imaging devices cannot locate, paving the way for early diagnosis and thus more effective treatment. The team led by Cheon Jin-woo and Suh Jin-suck, a chemical and medical professor at Yonsei University, said Monday they developed a super-sensitive nano particle that helped them photograph a 2 mm cancer cell in an animal test.

The results were published in the latest online edition of Nature Medicine on Monday. The team created a nano particle that is one 100,000th the size of a hair, named MEIO, which they combined with an antibody that sticks only to cancerous cells and then injected it to mice with breast cancer and ovarian cancer before performing an MRI. Prof. Cheon said oxidized steel adhering to cancer cells responds to the magnetic field of the MRI and makes a unique sound as if a magnet draws metals.

Currently, the most effective cancer diagnosis nano particle is CLIO, developed by a Harvard University team. It can detect 10 mm cancer cells. But MEIO can discover 2 mm cancer cells with an amount of less than one seventh of CLIO, which means its diagnostic capability is 150 times better than CLIO's, he said.

Cheon said MEIO is harmless since the particles are discharged from the body within three days. He stressed it is possible to instantly identify whether the tumor is malign or benign with a simple MRI test because the nano particle does not attach itself to benign tumors. Further animal tests and clinical tests on human will take at least another three years.

source Chosun 

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