To Detect Ovarian Cancer Early, Researchers Look to Nanotechnology
Imagine a device like an Apple Watch that could detect cancer in its earliest stages. The device would communicate with a tiny nanosensor, implanted in your body, that screens for the presence of cancer-associated markers. If any are detected, the sensor sends a signal to the watch, alerting you and your doctor.
This may sound like science fiction, but Sloan Kettering Institute biomedical engineer and Head of the Cancer Nanomedicine Laboratory Daniel Heller is working hard to make this vision a reality.
“For many cancers, if you can detect the disease early, then your chances of being cured are going to be a whole lot better,” Dr. Heller says. “That’s why we are so focused on developing nanosensors for early detection.”
The nanosensor technology is especially relevant to ovarian cancer, which is a major killer of women. Ovarian cancer causes few symptoms as it’s developing and there is no effective screening test, which is why it’s usually diagnosed at later stages. By that point, the disease has spread to areas outside of the ovary and is much more difficult to cure.
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