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Tiny Shells May Aid In Radiation Treatment

Posted on: 11/04/2003

Tiny Shells May Aid In Radiation Treatment

Tiny gold shells that absorb certain types of radiation may become a new weapon against cancer. The golden balls, called nanoshells, have a bit of mica in their center and can be designed to absorb radiation at specific frequencies.

A group of Texas researchers injected the nanoshells -- so small it would take 5,000 to reach the size of a poppy seed -- into tumors in mice. They exposed the tumors to near-infrared radiation, heating them enough to kill the cancer but without injuring nearby normal tissue.

The results are reported in this week's online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nanoshells should work in most soft-tissue tumors but would be most effective on cancers that cannot be removed surgically because they are in an awkward location, such as in the brain.

-- Compiled from reports by Reuters and the Associated Press

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