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Medicine Science

X-rays For Stargazing Turn Into Cancer Treatment 59

derGoldstein writes "Discovery posted an interesting story of how X-rays that are used by astronomers for determining the various chemical abundances inside stars could also potentially be used for more effective radiation therapy: 'Radiation treatment is a coarse instrument at best, since it destroys surrounding healthy cells as well as cancerous tumors. Much research is underway for targeted methods to reduce the collateral damage and attack just the cancer cells, including embedding nanoparticles inside tumors ... Nahar and Pradham envision a prototype device capable of generating x-rays (gzipped PDF) at the key frequencies to trigger a flood of low-energy electrons in platinum and gold, based on their computer simulations. Gold or platinum nanoparticles would amass naturally in cancerous tumors in the body, and could then be zapped with the focused x-ray beam.'"
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X-rays For Stargazing Turn Into Cancer Treatment

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  • by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @03:38PM (#36887500) Homepage
    They scientists discovered a unique property of certain x-rays that will cause metals like gold and platinum to emit electrons that can kill cancer but the electrons aren't powerful enough to damage neighboring cells. This discovery was made by astrophysicists who were doing computer simulation of emission spectrum of all the different elements so they could get a better understanding of the composition of stars. Now if you actually read the article you would have known this, it isn't very long and is a fairly easy read even for someone who isn't in the field.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents