SHEDDING LIGHT ON CANCERS
More than 85% of cancers start in the epithelium - the lining of the internal surfaces of the body's organs. Early on these malignancies are readily treatable, but are also very difficult to detect.
In a Brief Communication this week [Nature, Vol. 406, Issue 6791, July 6, 2000], M. S. Feld of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues announce a new technique based on light-scattering spectroscopy that is able to detect pre-cancerous and early cancerous changes in epithelia without the need for biopsy.
The technique relies on the changes that take place in cell nuclei during the early stages of cancer. Nuclei become enlarged and their contents appear abnormal. These differences scatter light from an optical fibre probe in a characteristic way. Feld's team show how this scattering can be translated into quantified scan results in real time. "This technique should significantly improve the efficiency of cancer screening and surveillance," the group concludes.
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(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza