Tumor magnet marks breakthrough for cancer research, earlier detection possible

By Jordan Norton

As the battle against cancer and the search for a cure continues, a recent study has led to a possible “tumor magnet” that could locate and alert doctors of tumors. It is possible the miniscule magnet could be placed in a patient’s body to circulate in the bloodstream and attach to vessels surrounding a cancerous tumor, then light up on an X-ray.

This idea became reality after scientists from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York discovered a protein that is only present in two places in the body.

“This protein is called FSH receptor,” said Dr. Marc Lockett, assistant professor of biology. “This protein is produced by the pituitary gland and is mainly involved with reproduction, but what makes the study so unusual is it is found in the cells around the tumor.”

According to the “New England Journal of Medicine,” 1,336 patients were examined and all of the tumors had the FSH receptor in the blood cells around the cancer.

Next, the researchers developed a particle that would only stick to the FSH receptor and tested this on mice that carried human tumors. They found the particles were attached to the FSH protein, showing the tumors’ location.

“This seems to be a novel approach to tumor detection,” Lockett said. “It is unlike any research I have seen before because of its lack of negative affects and its ability to potentially aid not only in cancer diagnosis, but also to provide a target for drugs that can kill cancer cells.”

A.J. Rawls, junior nursing major, said, “I am impressed with this study because of the timing it can alert doctors. It has the capability of making cancerous tumors known earlier than we have been able to do before.”

The journal reported human testing is not far off.

“There is no way of knowing if it will be successful like it was with the animals, due to the complications of possi-   ble side effects, but this looks to be a promising study,” Lockett said.

against “don’t ask, don’t tell” are finished campaigning at home and will be able to focus on getting votes for the policy in court.

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