This Tiny Particle Could Roam Your Body and Save You From Cancer

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

In 2016, the National Cancer Institute estimates that there will over 1.6 million news cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Over 500,000 will die from the disease. 

While many work for a cure for cancer, there is something else that can save lives: early detection. 

In a TEDTalks video posted Tuesday, physician and bioengineer Sangeeta Bhatia describes her new screening test that can find tumors before they become dangerous. 

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

She set out to find a small detector that can be injected to circulate the body.

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

When nanoparticles are injected into a blood vessel, certain ones leak out into a tumor, dependent on size. 

For example, as seen in the below image, the smaller blue nanoparticles leak out, while the red nanoparticles remain in the bloodstream.

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Bhatia's lab made a sensitive nano-detecter that travels and looks for cancerous cells.

Source: YouTube

The nanoparticles that leaked into the tumor release a signal that will then filter out of the kidney into urine.

Her goal, with this technology, is to replace expensive screening facilities with a shot and urine test. 

Source: YouTube

It already works on mice for the detection of lung, colon and ovarian cancer. 

Watch the full video below:

Source: YouTube

Read more: This Little Implant Could Be the Future of Cancer Treatment

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Hayley Wilbur

Hayley is a staff writer at Mic, covering style. Say hi: hayley@mic.com.

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