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Glowing Cornell Dots Target Cancer

Wed, Jun 15, 2011

Oral Cancer News

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 13, 2011

(Ivanhoe Newswire)– New medical technology is showing that Cornell dots may be a potential cancer diagnostic tool. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the first clinical trial in humans using Cornell Dots- brightly glowing nanoparticles that can light up cancer cells in PET-optical imaging.

Cornell Dots are silica spheres less than eight nanometers in diameter that enclose several dye molecules. To make the dots stick to tumor cells, organic molecules that bind to tumor surfaces, or even specific locations within the tumors, can be attached to a polyethylene glycol shell. This shell, also referred to as PEG, prevents the body from recognizing the dots as foreign substances. When exposed to near-infrared light, the dots fluoresce much brighter than dye to serve as a beacon identifying the target cells. Researchers say this technology enables visualization during surgical treatment.

Cornell Dots were first developed in 2005 by Hooisweng Ow, a coauthor of the paper on this study and once a graduate student working with Ulrich Wiesner, Cornell Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Ow and other researchers of this technology are currently in the process of forming a new commercial entity in New York City that will help transition this research into commercial products that will benefit cancer patients.

Michelle S. Bradbury, M.D, of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and an assistant professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, was quoted as saying, “This is the first FDA IND approved inorganic particle platform of its class and properties that can be used for multiple clinical indications as well as cancer disease staging and tumor burden assessment via lymph node mapping.”

Scientists are able to perform real-time imaging of lymphatic drainage patterns and particle clearance rates as well as sensitivity, to detect nodal metastases. Nodal mapping is also being pursued which is expected to lead to another clinical trial in humans.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.


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