They might be indeed forever, but diamonds could be a cancer diagnosing tool as well, as they could provide with excellent means of finding the disease early on.
- Out of 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer this year, 500,000 will perish
- Researchers found a way to hyperpolarize nano-diamonds to light up on MRI scans
- This will be attached to chemical treatments in order to keep track of the cancer
- The diamond particles will act as a beacon, cheap, and non-toxic
Prevention could be the first step to curing the world of one of our century’s biggest problem. In the United States alone, 1.6 million people have been diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and a tragic 500,000 are estimated to die due to their condition. It’s an unfortunate fact that has scientists dedicate their attention to this life-threatening disease.
One solution for prevention could be hidden in diamonds. In a new study, researchers found a way that they would make exceptional use of these precious gems, far beyond their accessorizing benefits. Scientists have found that they have properties that can effectively light up cancer cells that might’ve otherwise gone undetected.
And, a very important detail to mention, they are completely non-toxic to the human body. Neither the immune system nor the kidney will attack them.
The researchers at the University of Sydney designed synthetic versions of diamonds that could be used to detect cancer cells through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The gems alone do not light up on their own, but they found a way so that they would show themselves when turned into synthetic nano-scale particles.
In order to do so, they focused on hyperpolarizing the nano-diamonds. The process effectively aligns atoms inside the small particle in a way that it would send a signal to the MRI. Once that goal was achieved, they attached the hyperpolarized nano-diamonds to chemotherapy treatments.
This way, they were essentially able to track the chemicals moving through the body.
The cancerous cells will attract the substances, while the diamonds will map out their course. This innovative methods could effectively point out where the cancer is or if the treatment is indeed working. According to lead author of the study, David Reilly, this is a “lighthouse” to catch the targeted cancer cells and bring them up on MRI scans.
They would travel through the body, telling oncologists or other medical professionals exactly where the cancer is and how grave is the patient’s conditions. It could be an excellent tool for diagnosing the disease early on. The tiny particles of the precious gems would be a beacon of light, and a hope for catching cancer early.
As stated by researchers, this is an exceptional example on how quantum physics takes on real-world problems. And, to trump concerns, while diamonds are very expensive, these synthetic versions are actually quite cheap and easily available.
Trials will begin on mice soon, but the scientists have high hopes that this will eventually become a pillar in diagnosing cancer before it becomes life threatening.
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