Science blog
Orbital mechanics affect methane levels
Antarctic lake keeps its secrets for now
How snakes lost their legs
Researchers ponder cancer origins
Forming social networks a no-brainer
'Niceness' partly genetic, say scientists
Omega-3 may keep blindness at bay
Coral shines light on rainfall records
Old bone proves Lucy was no swinger
Scientists unlock cosmic ice riddle
Study links pesticides to Parkinson's
Digital world growing faster every year
Energy drinks put kids at risk: report
Robotics speed up cancer drug development
Zinc cuts short the common cold
Counting kicks in at 18 months
NASA spacecraft unravels comet mystery
Astronomers dig up cannibalised galaxy
Study links extreme weather to climate change
Turkey quake gives warning clues
US scientists build first 'antilaser'
Website meltdown leaves scientists fuming
Earth 'unrecognisable' by 2050: experts
Canola fungus genome unravelled
Sticky dots approved for clinical trial
A new diagnostic technique approved for a human clinical trial targets cancer cells themselves with tiny tracers that atomically bond to rogue cells wherever they appear in the body.

The study, which will take place at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is intended to test if the 'sticky dots' work as well in humans as they did in mice and pigs.

"It's like flypaper," says Louis Marzella, deputy director of medical imaging products at the US Food and Drug Adminstration. "It will stick to the item of interest."

For this clinical trial, scheduled to start in a few weeks, doctors are recruiting five terminally ill melanoma patients who will be injected with tiny silica spheres - each less than 8 nanometres in diameter - that enclose several molecules of dye.

The dots will be coated with polyethylene glycol, which the body won't recognise as a foreign substance, labelled with radioactive iodine to make them visible in scans and sprinkled with organic molecules that bind to tumour cells.

Dots that don't find cancer cells to latch on to are designed to pass through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. Those that find a target cell will fluoresce when exposed to near-infrared light, revealing the location and spread of cancer.

"We want to find out what happens when particles are injected into humans, are they as benign as they were when they were injected into animals?" says Cornell University materials scientist and engineer Ulrich Wiesner.

"We want to know a lot about the safety of these products," added Marzella.
Revolutionising cancer surgery

If successful, the nanoparticles will not only present doctors with a powerful new imaging tool, they also could deliver medications to kill cancer cells on contact, with far fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

"That's the next level of complexity," says Wiesner. "It's clearly something we want to do."

Eventually, cancer sticky dots, which can be illuminated by small optical devices, could revolutionise cancer surgeries by illuminating exactly where a doctor needs to cut.

"The only thing that currently guides surgeons is his or her experience," says Wiesner. "We want to provide an engineering parameter. This may really change things."

Brain efficiency comes from parents
Backward bending light key to stealth
Signs of 'alien life' found in meteorites
Accurate blood test for Down's
Disaster volunteers at risk: study
Elephants smart as chimps, dolphins
Gadgets ruining people's sleep
Why skin doesn't dissolve in the bath
Astronomers find old heads in a young crowd
Paper leads to perfect beer head
Researchers locate brain's loudness map
Jamming may leave GPS in the wilderness
Pain washes guilt away
Quake could alter Tokyo risk: experts
Japan meltdown not like Chernobyl: expert
Dreamtime astronomers understood meteors
CERN restarts search for cosmic origins
Nuclear Contamination: What to Do
Bet-hedging 'key to natural selection'
Humans age same as other primates
US overdue, under-prepared for huge quake
Sperm's egg-seeking secrets revealed
Lasers to nudge space junk out harm's way
Researchers uncover gastro's sugary secret
Kepler probes inside swollen red giant
Randomness could 'improve democracy'
Moonageddon: Apocalypse not
Museum unveils Columbian mammoth
Ink-jet inspire scientists to make skin
Seaweed offers clues against malaria
Christchurch quakes may be connected
Solar storms pose risk to technology
Study finds fences thwart cane toad
Mobile phone alters brain activity
Sticky dots approved for clinical trial
Humans stink worse than other animals
Putting the bounce in carbon balls
Sulphur secrets uncovered
Cool laser makes atoms march in time
Hot flashes may be a sign of good heart
Scientists see the birth of a new planet
X-ray expectations change search methods
Eucalypt-harming fungus here to stay
Life elements came from outer space
Cricket wimps use perfume to find mates
Orphan planets could support life
Speech lights up visual cortex in blind
How the Sun loses its spots
Cancer resistance mechanism found
Fungus turns Amazonian ants into zombies
Tiny grains record solar system's infancy
Antarctic ice forming beneath glaciers
Visit Statistics