In the future, the value of gold might be measured in nanometers instead of in carats — especially for people with breast cancer. Joseph Irudayaraj’s lab at Purdue University is taking advantage of the optical and physical properties of gold to develop nanorods that can be used as diagnostic tools. Once in blood, these rods circulate and attach to specific cells. Right now, Irudayaraj is working on getting the gold nanorods to adhere to different types of breast cancer cells.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also contributed to brain research, NPR reports.

The New York Times reports on the shifting interpretations of what some genetic variants mean over time.

In Cell this week: investigation of metastatic tumor evolution, more than 16,000 genetic variants introduced into the budding yeast model organism, and more.

MIT's Technology Review reports on Genentech's pursuit of personalized cancer vaccines.