Light-Driven Cancer Therapy Developed by Nanotechnology Startup

An Indiana-based technology startup is working to create new heads for computer hard drives that could improve their storage density and assist in the development of light-driven cancer therapies.

What's the Latest Development?


An Indiana-based technology startup is working to create new heads for computer hard drives that could improve their storage density and assist in the development of light-driven cancer therapies. The company is developing nanostructured compounds that can concentrate light through plasmonic effects. "In the realm of data storage, for example, plasmonic structures can create a much more tightly confined beam of light that can read and write much smaller magnetic or optical bits. In medicine, gold particles just tens of nanometers across could be used to damage tumors by concentrating the energy in infrared light."

What's the Big Idea?

Light-based cancer treatment is a budding technology that, given the ability to concentrate laser light beams onto specific tumor cells, overcomes many adverse effects that result from chemotherapy treatment. "Metal nanoparticles can be injected into the bloodstream so that they accumulate in tumors. When clinicians shine the right wavelength of light on these nanoparticles from outside the body, some plasmon oscillations heat them up and damage the tumor. It is possible to control how much the nanoparticles heat up by altering their shape." Nanospectra Biosciences of Houston, Texas, already has treatments based on gold-coated nanoparticles in early clinical trials.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MIT Technology Review

Related Articles

Why the world needs death to prosper

Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.

Surprising Science
  • Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
  • After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
  • Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
Keep reading Show less

Why birds fly south for the winter—and more about bird migration

What do we see from watching birds move across the country?

E. Fleischer
Surprising Science
  • A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
  • The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
  • Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Keep reading Show less

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less