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Nanotechnology may aid medical screening

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CHICAGO, Aug 14, 2006 (UPI via COMTEX) -- U.S. scientists say they are exploring the use of nanotechnology as a source of diagnostic healthcare screening tools for women.

Rush University Medical Center researchers -- in a unique collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology -- say nanotechnology might lead to strikingly new ways to diagnosis and treat ovarian cancer.

"While the mortality rates of many cancers have decreased significantly in recent decades, the rate for ovarian cancer had not changed much in the last 50 years, primarily due to delays in diagnosis," said Dr. Jacob Rotmensch, section director of gynecologic oncology at Rush. "By exploiting the unique properties of nanotechnology, we hope to detect ovarian cancer earlier using highly sensitive imaging tools and develop drug carriers that can deliver therapeutic agents inside tumor cells."

The researchers say nanoscale devices could perform tasks inside the body that would otherwise not be possible, such as entering most cells and moving through the walls of blood vessels.

One area of research involves developing a screening test that would not require removal of the ovary for biopsy.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-most common cancer among U.S. women.


Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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