Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Double Strike To Fight Cancer

Combined diagnosis and treatment of tumors: photothermically activated ultrasound contrast agent

Diagnosis and treatment form the basis of modern medicine. Traditionally, they are two separate steps; however, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The term “theranostic” refers to the combination of a diagnostic test with a specific treatment based on the result of the test. This integrated approach should be particularly helpful in providing more targeted treatment for cancer patients. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, a research team headed by Zhifei Dai at the Harbin Institute of Technology (China) has now introduced a new theranostic agent that simultaneously serves as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging and as a drug for the photothermic treatment of tumors.

Ultrasound imaging is a safe and inexpensive diagnostic tool that delivers images in real time. A probe sends out short, directional bursts of sound waves, which are reflected and diffracted differently in the different layers of tissue. Suitable contrast agents, such as tiny gas bubbles, can significantly improve the sensitivity and resolution of the images.

The Chinese researchers wished to develop a new contrast agent that simultaneously acts as a drug for photothermic treatment. In this method of treatment, an agent, such as gold nanoshells, is selectively introduced into a tumor, and this region is then irradiated. This causes the gold particles to become very hot, overheating the diseased tissue and causing it to die off. Gold nanostructures can be made to specifically absorb near-infrared light, a wavelength that can penetrate deep into tissues without causing damage.

For their new theranostic agent, the scientists used a biocompatible polymer to produce nanocapsules containing tiny drops of water. They coated the capsules with gold and removed the water through freeze-drying. This produced tiny air-filled cavities within the microcapsules. These are the contrast agent for the ultrasound; the gold shell acts as the photothermically activated drug.

In animal trials, the new multifunctional agent proved to be nontoxic and demonstrated very good contrast enhancement in ultrasound examinations. When cultures of tumor cells were treated with the microcapsules, the cells could be killed off through irradiation.

“With our new therapeutic contrast agent, we were able to locate the tumor by ultrasound imaging and determine its size,” explains Dai. “With real time monitoring, the tumor could then be irradiated, successful treatment confirmed, and healthy tissue protected.”

Author: Zhifei Dai, Harbin Institute of Technology (China),

Title: Gold Nanoshelled Microcapsules Operate as Theranostic Agent for Ultrasound Contrast Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article:

Zhifei Dai | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>