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Biotech Science

New Nanoparticle Could Provide Simple Early Diagnosis Of Many Diseases 62

Researchers have created a new nanoparticle that could someday act as a virtually all-purpose diagnostic tool to detect many inflammatory diseases in their earliest stages, including heart disease, Alzheimer's, and arthritis. The specially-designed nanoparticles seek out hydrogen peroxide (thought to be overproduced in trace amounts in the early stages of most diseases that involve some sort of chronic inflammation in the body), and emit light when they encounter it.
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New Nanoparticle Could Provide Simple Early Diagnosis Of Many Diseases

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  • by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:11PM (#20295139) Journal
    a Nanobot that blacklists certain virii and bacteria and kills them on sight.

    It should be a simple enough function and if it terminates after a few hours everything should be okay.

    That would utterly rock - no more ineffective drugs with side effects.
  • Sounds cool, except that I don't think they can perfect the no 'side-effects' part. Walk by the old leaky microwave in grandma's kitchen and suddenly all the nanobots begin to think that you are on their blacklist.

    'Oops, my arm just fell off. Better check on what the heck those nanobots are up to today.'
  • Not a tricorder.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NIckGorton ( 974753 ) on Monday August 20, 2007 @03:01PM (#20295741)
    Um, we can already detect inflammation. Try a technetium-111 or indium-99 labeled WBC scan.

    I doubt that this would be specific enough (and of uncertain sensitivity) to be useful. How many false positives and false negatives would you get? It might end up being helpful in situations where you are looking to diagnose a suspected disease, but something this non-specific does not seem like it would be a good screening tool.

    A few years back they were hawking full body (or if you were cheap partial body) CT scans as a screen. The brochures would show you the 38 year old mother of two whose renal cell carcinoma was detected and removed when it was 1cm in size, thus saving her life. They did not show you the guy who had a nodule detected on CT that looked suspicious, required a biopsy that caused a pneumothorax requiring a chest tube, that caused him to have a pneumonia with empyema, which caused respiratory failure, which caused him to be intubated for two weeks, needing a tracheostomy, etc.... to diagnose the totally benign lesion he had since he was born.

    I wouldn't bet on this as the medical tricorder they are making it out to be.

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