Cancer breakthrough: New technique spares healthy tissue in investigation
Method uses fluorescent molecules in lymph nodes
A new technique, using fluorescent molecules reveals just how far cancer has spread in the lymph nodes without damaging healthy tissue has been developed by scientists. The method allows surgeons to identify which lymph nodes are cancerous in order to protect healthy tissue. The lymph nodes play a vital function in helping the body to recognize and fight germs.
Lymph nodes which are located throughout the body serve as filters that contain immune cells to fight infection and clean the blood.
Lymph nodes which are located throughout the body serve as filters that contain immune cells to fight infection and clean the blood. When cancer cells break away from a tumor anywhere in the body, the cells can travel through the lymph system to hide in these minuscule organs. Surgeons typically remove the nodes to determine if and how far a cancer has spread.
The chief challenge is that human nodes, only half a centimeter in size are difficult to detect among the surrounding tissue during surgery. The lymphatic system aids the immune system in removing and destroying waste, pathogens, toxins and cancer cells.
Even if surgeons are able to map the location of the nodes, there is no technique available that indicates whether or not the lymph nodes contain cancer. This in turn leads to an invasive technique that requires the removal of more lymph nodes than is necessary.
The new technique however is so sensitive it can detect cancer sites measuring just millimeters across. "With molecular-targeted imaging, surgeons can avoid unnecessary removal of healthy lymph nodes which is better long-term for patients," Nguyen says.
She added that the tool enhanced a surgeon's visual field to such an extent that "no tumor is left behind."
Known as ratiometric activatable cell-penetrating peptides (RACPP), the fluorescently labeled molecules, are injectable.
When used in mouse models, surgeons could see where the cancer had spread with high sensitivity even when the sites were only a few millimeters in size.
At present doctors can only locate where the lymph nodes without finding out if they are cancerous. Current methods for managing prostate cancer involve removing all susceptible lymph nodes before discovering how far the cancer has spread.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Malaria cases spread to higher elevations
- Alzheimer's to join cancer, heart disease as one of America's top fatal conditions
- Birthing centers not provided for under health care reform
- Lots of proteins can BE BAD FOR YOU! 'As bad for health as smoking,' new study finds
- OUTBREAK: 53 people in 10 states stricken with measles
- Popular overdose drug rises in cost, to keep up with demand
- ANCIENT SCOURGE: leprosy, still very much alive in the world today, goes back 10 million years
- CONTROVERSY: Is dyslexia a 'meaningless label' to excuse bad reading skills?
- Horrid polio-like disease stalking children in California, may be very widespread
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?