January 2024 Digital Health Roundup

January 2024 Digital Health Roundup

Science fiction comes to life in the name of treating cancer. Scientists from MIT have created inhalable sensors combined with a urine test to detect early-stage lung cancer. Research from an ultrafast laser technology could help improve cancer treatments. Nano drones have been created to make a more targeted and precise cancer treatment.

MIT Scientists Create Inhalable Sensors to Detect Early Lung Cancer

This technique of inhaling nanoparticle sensors followed by a urine test may offer the potential for faster and early detection of lung cancer reports Interesting Engineering. This technology will be helpful to lower income countries that have little access to CT scanners. Lung cancer is caused by pollution and smoking, this makes cancer numbers higher in lower income countries. Access to this technology can have a big impact on lung cancer detection and earlier treatment, increasing better outcomes for patients. These nanosensors are given via inhaler or nebulizer. The sensors identify cancer related proteins in the lungs and use a barcoded DNA that detaches when it contacts the cancerous proteins. Eventually the barcoded DNA accumulates in the urine where it can be detected with a paper test strip. The results of this technology are available within 20 minutes. In mice trials, the test detected early-stage lung cancer. It is now moving into human trials. Click here for the full story.

Ultrafast Laser Technology Could Offer Improved Cancer Treatment

For the first time, we showed that, under certain conditions, a laser beam tightly focused in ambient air can accelerate electrons reaching energies in the MeV (megaelectronvolt) range, the same order of magnitude as some irradiators used in radiation therapy for cancer reports Phys Org. The end of a focused point of a laser can generate plasma which can be generated to high energy like radiation. FLASH radiotherapy uses a similar method to treat cancerous tumors resistant to radiation therapy. It gives high doses of radiation in a short time to protect surrounding healthy tissues. With this discovery, more research can be done to make better radiation treatments for cancer. This new knowledge highlights the need for safer handling of the laser beams for those who operate them; radiation is more of a hazard than previously known. Click here for the full story.

“Nanodrones” Enable Targeted Cancer Treatment

A groundbreaking study led by Professor Sebyung Kang and Professor Sung Ho Park in the Department of Biological Sciences that UNIST has unveiled a remarkable breakthrough in cancer treatment. The research team has successfully developed unprecedented “NK-cell engaging nano drones” capable of selectively targeting and eliminating cancer cells, offering a potential solution for intractable types of cancers reports Technology Networks. NK (natural killer) cells are the body’s immune response against cancer. The NK cell-engaging nano drones display ligands or molecules that bind to human NK cells. This technology offers development of treatments for intractable cancers, using the NK cell delivery nano drones. Click here for the full story.