Good news, everyone!
Now chemists led by Vincent Rotello at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a rapid, sensitive way to detect microscopic levels of many different metastatic cell types in living tissue.
"With this tool, we can now actually detect and identify metastasized tumor cells in living animal tissue rapidly and effectively using the 'nose' strategy....With this advance, we're much closer to the promise of a general diagnostic test."
In addition to the high sensitivity, the authors point out, their sensor is able to differentiate between low (parental) and high (bone, adrenal, and ovary) metastases, as well as between site-specific cells such as breast, liver, lung and prostate cancers.
Their next step will be to test the new sensor array method in human tissue samples,...
Gold nanoparticles (at left) with green fluorescent protein (GFP) “smell” different cancer types in much the same way our noses identify and remember different odors. At right, the distinct protein levels in a cancer interact with the particle to generate patterns used to identify cancer type. (Credit: UMass Amherst)
Good news - yes.