Breast Cancer Diagnosis Using a Pill

May 21, 2018  Source: Ddu 218

A diagnostic test named Mammography was used to detect breast cancer worldwide. But its diagnosis is imprecise in conditions where the dense breast tissue hides the presence of lumps which this diagnostic tool wouldn’t be able to detect.

A research team at the University of Michigan were developing a pill which shows the presence of tumors when exposed to infrared light, and their concept worked well in mice.

The pill was a type of dye that becomes attached to the tumor surface via oral delivery. When the infrared light was on, the molecule found on tumor cells would be tagged. The physicians would be able to distinguish between malignant and benign tumors based on specific information of the types of molecules found upon the surface of tumor cells. The infrared light was used since it could penetrate deep inside the body without disrupting DNA.

Greg Thurber, U-M assistant professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, who led this research work said, "We overspend $4 billion per year on the diagnosis and treatment of cancers that women would never die from; if we go to molecular imaging, we can see which tumors need to be treated; to get a molecule absorbed into the bloodstream, it needs to be small and greasy. But an imaging agent needs to be larger and water-soluble; it binds to the target, but it doesn't do anything, which makes it perfect for imaging."

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