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Gold Nanoparticles

May 19, 2011

Nano-sized gold-silica particles may help catch tumors in colonoscopies.

Transcript

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.

HIRSHON:

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.