Tools, like X-rays and microscopes, can help visualize and identify cancer. Looking to the future, cancer detection might rely on nanoscale devices that will "listen" for the deadly cells and hunt them down. Engineers from the University of California, Riverside, are working with technologies that will allow doctors to "tune in" to cancerous cells based on electrical signals they emit. The researchers say cancerous cells emit a different signal than healthy ones. So, once the cells are distinguished, nanodevices can deliver cancer-killing medicine direct to cells in that electrical frequency.
As a non-invasive method, ultrasound is among the easiest around. Now, a higher intensity ultrasound, greater than doctors use to see a fetus, is being explored as a way to turn-off the blood supply to tumors. Doctors from the University of Pennsylvania are testing low-intensity ultrasound vibrations to disrupt newly formed tumor vessels. The early study finds each minute of ultrasound exposure leads to a 25% reduction in active vessels that feed the tumor.
Dieting in the future might get a lift from microscopic machines that can trick the body into thinking it's full! Biologists from Utah State University are using nanoparticles in their research. In tests, nanoparticles made from fat molecules are directed to fat receptors in a site like the intestines. When the fat receptor cells absorb the phony fat, the newly filled cells communicate to the brain that they're full so you can stop eating! Research is still in the early stages, but the doctors are encouraged by the phony fat results.