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Belarusian and U.S. scientists discover new method for spotting residual tumor cells


Belarusian and U.S. scientists have discovered a new method for detection of residual tumor cells and their destruction, Candidate of Medicine Igor Belotserkovsky coordinating the head and neck cancer group of the Aleksandrov National Cancer Center said in an interview with BelTA.

The method helps spot and eliminate cancer cells with plasmonic nanobubbles. “The method is based on the utilization of gold nanoparticles and laser radiation to generate nanobubbles inside tumor cells. The nanobubbles, in turn, are detected with an acoustic probe. For this purpose, the gold nanoparticles are decorated with special antibodies that identify cancer cells and gather in clusters only around the tumor, thereby ensuring no damage is done to healthy tissue,” Igor Belotserkovsky pointed out.

The approach has been successfully tested on lab mice. The animals of the research and control groups underwent the same operations to remove implanted head and neck tumors. With additional minimal surgery conducted after detection of residual cancer cells with plasmonic nanobubbles, the survival rate in the research group was 100%. Meanwhile, the control group mice underwent only a standard surgery and died of progressing tumor. By the way, nanobubbles helped eliminate inoperable microtumors.

Igor Belotserkovsky stressed that the new method is expected to reduce the frequency of tumor recurrence. “The procedure is as follows: a patient gets an injection with gold nanoparticles before the surgery. After the tumor is removed, the tumor bed is treated with laser which activates nanobubbles that quickly expand and burst, ripping apart the residual cancer cells,” the scientist explained.

He added that specialists are ready to test the cancer treatment method in Belarus. In his words, the Aleksandrov National Cancer Center has a high level of confidence in the reliability of the research.