July 16, 2024

Researchers Develop NanoSABERs for Improved Cancer Imaging and Treatment”

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed a groundbreaking method for detecting and visualizing cancerous tumors using nanoSABERs, a form of molecular probes. Led by Ishan Barman and Jeff W. Bulte, the team created these infinitesimal probes that emit light when they come into contact with specific enzymes found in cancer cells. By visualizing tumors in their entirety, this technology has the potential to revolutionize cancer imaging and treatment.

Traditionally, tissue biopsies have been the gold standard for detecting cancer. However, they are often imprecise and may miss certain areas of tumors. The nanoSABER probes developed by the Johns Hopkins team aim to solve this problem by allowing clinicians to see the full extent of cancerous activity within tumors. This comprehensive visualization could provide valuable insights into the aggressiveness of the cancer and inform treatment decisions, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Enzymes, particularly legumain, play a significant role in the development and progression of cancer. The nanoSABER probes developed by the team self-assemble in the presence of these cancer-related enzymes and emit a signal that can be detected using Raman spectroscopy. This visualization technique analyzes molecular vibrations to identify and characterize substances, enabling the probes to accurately pinpoint cancer cells.

The researchers believe that this new method could also enable clinicians to monitor the accumulation of cancer drugs in tumors more accurately during treatment. By tracking drug accumulation, clinicians can assess the effectiveness of treatments and make necessary adjustments to optimize patient care.

Lead author Swati Tanwar, a post-doctoral fellow in mechanical engineering, emphasizes the importance of obtaining a comprehensive perspective of cancer at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels. Examining what is happening at the margins of tumors is crucial for complete cancer removal and reducing the risk of recurrence.

The study also involved co-authors from Johns Hopkins University, including Behnaz Ghaemi, Piyush Raj, Aruna Singh, Lintong Wu, Dian R. Arifin, and Michael T. McMahon. Yue Yuan from the University of Science and Technology of China was also part of the research team.

In conclusion, the development of nanoSABERs offers a promising breakthrough in cancer imaging and treatment. By providing a clearer and more comprehensive view of tumors, this technology has the potential to enhance cancer detection, inform treatment decisions, and improve patient outcomes. Further research and development are needed to fully explore the capabilities and applications of this innovative approach in the battle against cancer.


1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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