May 14, 2003 — The National Institutes of Health has given a $1.4 million grant to the University of California, Irvine, to develop a nanoscale probe that detects and treats cancerous tumors in humans, according to a university news release.
The five-year grant will go toward developing a probe that would be inserted into a patient and guided through the esophagus, stomach and colon to detect tumors in the intestine. A surgeon would remotely control the probe with an endoscope.
Researchers say the optical nanoprobe could help pinpoint microscopic changes before they turn into advanced cancer, and might avoid traditional biopsies. Four teams with individuals from several of the university’s schools and centers will focus on creating techniques for high-speed, high-resolution imaging; creating probes from silicon and polymers; and conducting animal and human tests.