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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, July 13, 2004  
Cancer Will Be Cured In Our Time

I've been reading a new blog (well, for me, at least) lately called World Changing, covering scientific and technological developments that affect our lives and the world around us. It's a top-notch site, and should be in everyone's bookmark list or RSS feed list. Enough with the blog love, though.

Yesterday they had a very heartening post about a new breakthrough in the realm of cancer research:

Researchers at Rice University, along with a company called Nanospectra Biosciences, have determined that gold-covered nanoparticles, 20 times smaller than a red blood cell, will quickly pool in tumors when injected into the bloodstream. The nanoshells, when illuminated with a near-infrared laser (which otherwise passes harmlessly through living tissue), will heat up sufficiently to incinerate the tumors completely, in every test.

Wow, huh? So far, the trials have all been performed in mice, not in humans, so there's still a lot of work to do before curing cancer will be as easy as getting your near-sighted eyes fixed. Still, it's incredibly promising. My Grandmother died from brain cancer -- the inoperable kind. With this breakthrough's promise, she'd probably still be alive today.

Friends of mine know that I've said for years now that nanotechnology would be the vehicle in which a cure for cancel is finally delivered. I was suspecting something more like intelligent bots that deliver anti-cancer toxins directly to the tumor cells -- essentially targeted, micro-chemotherapy. There's still research (also very promising) being done in this area, but given the sophistication necessary, this therapy is probably a decade or two away. The above breakthrough might be available in a span of only a few years, instead. Fantastic.

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