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New Technology Allows Better Monitoring of Cancer Cells

Last Updated: April 15, 2009.

Researchers foresee an increased ability to diagnose the disease.

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- A new imaging technology could help improve the tracking of changes in cancer cells, according to researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The technology uses specially designed dye-containing nanoparticles to simultaneously measure dozens of features in or on a single cell.

Current single-flow technologies are capable of up to 17 simultaneous measurements, but the new method has the potential to do far more, according to a Stanford news release. The new technology enhances the detection of ultra-specific but weak patterns, known as Raman signals, that are emitted by molecules in response to light.

In a study that appears April 15 in the online journal PLoS One, the researchers used the technology to simultaneously monitor changes in two intracellular proteins that play important roles in cancer development.

If further development of the technique is successful, the researchers said, it could improve the ability to diagnose cancers and to separate living, biopsied cancer cells from one another based on characteristics indicating their stage of progression or their level of resistance to chemotherapy drugs.

The ability to separate cancer cells in that way, they said, would speed testing of treatments targeting a tumor's most resistant cells.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.

SOURCE: Stanford University, news release, April 14, 2009

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