May 19, 2011
Nano-sized gold-silica particles may help catch tumors in colonoscopies.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Finding tumors with gold…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
In the future, before a colonoscopy, you may drink a beverage laced with gold. This according to Stanford University radiologist Sam Gambhir. His team’s working with tiny nano-particles, made from gold and silica, that stick to tumors but not to healthy tissue. They run the particles through the bowel and then shine a light inside.
SAM GAMBHIR (Stanford University):
From an imaging perspective, what we’d like to see is the cancer light up, if you will, and normal tissue not light up.
That’s where the gold comes in. Compared with most substances, light that hits gold comes back with a lot of inelastic scattering, called Raman scattering – which can be detected with specialized equipment. In recent animal studies, the researchers sprayed the nano-particles directly into the colon, but Gambhir says it should eventually be possible for patients to just drink them. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.