Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Glowing Cancer Test From the Crystal Jellyfish: Maybe

"Glowing Jellyfish May Be Able to Detect Cancer Cells"
FOXNews.com (November 2, 2010)

"Jellyfish that glow in the dark are being used to light up cancerous tumors in laboratory experiments.

"Scientists put fluorescent proteins from a common jellyfish into human cancer cells then use a special camera to find them.

"A team from the Yorkshire Cancer Research Laboratory at York University has developed the procedure and its leader, Professor Norman Maitland, believes it will revolutionize the way some cancers are diagnosed....

"...'X-rays, for example, struggle to penetrate well deeply into tissues and bone, so diagnosing dangerous microscopic bone cancer is difficult. Our process should allow earlier diagnosis to take place. When a specially developed camera is switched on, the proteins just flare up and you can see where the cancer cells are. We call the process "virimaging." '

"The potential breakthrough follows ground-breaking work by American chemist Dr. Roger Y. Tsien, who won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for taking luminous cells from the Crystal Jellyfish and isolating the glowing protein...."

A fancier name for the glow-in-the-dark crystal jellyfish is Aequorea victoria. According to Walla Walla University, it's found in the Pacific, from British Columbia to central California

This research could be really good news if it pans out. As the article pointed out, the trick to successful cancer treatment is often finding the disease early - and tools like x-rays aren't all that good at finding deeply buried traces of rogue cells.

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