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The Cancer Surgeon’s Latest Tool: Quantum Dots - IEEE Spectrum

  • Oct 13th, 2016
  • Sanj Singh

The Cancer Surgeon’s Latest Tool: Quantum Dots

Now used to brighten displays, quantum dots could one day guide a surgeon’s hand.

Source: See full artice at the following link:  IEEE Spectrum 

The bits of semiconducting material that are lately brightening the colors on television screens hold a much greater promise—that they will extend lives. These tiny crystals are far too small to be seen with the naked eye, measuring just one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair, which is one reason they’re called quantum dots. When you shine a suitable light on such a dot, it becomes luminous, emitting a very pure color that is determined by its size.

While there are many exciting possibilities to be explored, the most important one we’re pursuing aims to help delineate malignant tumors and the pathways along which they spread, which could improve the safety and effectiveness of cancer surgery. The surgical team would simply inject the quantum dots and then illuminate the area with either ultraviolet or blue light.  The quantum dots would fluoresce brightly and could do so for the duration of the operation. They could be engineered to emit light at whatever wavelength the surgeon desired, be it one that can be seen directly or one that emits in the infrared, allowing its light to pass through skin and fatty tissue. The surgeon could take as much time as needed to determine the locations of sentinel nodes, which would presumably make such procedures more accurate.

Here’s where quantum dots could really...well, shine. Unlike organic dyes, quantum dots migrate relatively slowly and can maintain their ability to fluoresce for many hours. So the surgeon could perform the procedure based on what the dots reveal in real time. The surgical team would simply inject the quantum dots and then illuminate the area with either ultraviolet or blue light

See full arttice at:  IEEE Spectrum

 

Author

Sanj Singh Board of Directors - BIOTECanada, Co-Chair Saskatoon Chamber Health Opportunities Committee

Sanj Singh is on the Board of Directors for BIOTECanada and previously CEO of ADETherapeutics.

www.saskatoonchamber.com

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