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Cancer Beware


Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a new carbon nanotube device that is capable of finding single cancer cells in patients, says 80beats' Patrick Morgan. The microfluidics device, published in the journal Small, could help doctors find cancer cells that have spread from the original tumor site. The researchers developed a similar device four years ago — it featured tens of thousands of microscopic silicon posts coated with tumor-sticking antibodies, and when cancer cells bumped into the posts, they would stick and be detected, Morgan says. The new device, the researchers say, is eight times better than the old one, with highly porous carbon nanotubes replacing the solid silicon tubes. "This allows the blood to actually flow through the tubes instead of just around them, increasing the likelihood of catching a cancer cell," Morgan says. The process to commercialize the technology and get it into labs and hospitals is going to take a while, he adds.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.