Scientist working

Chinese scientists on Wednesday reported that they developed a new technology to aid precise diagnosis and effective intervention in cancer surgery and treatment.

The research team was led by Zhang Zhongping from Hefei Institute of Physical Science under Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Zhang said “distinguishing tumor cells from normal cells can be a daunting challenge for surgeons during cancer surgery.

“Failing to locate and remove all cancerous tissues during surgery often means a recurrence of the disease and another round of invasive operation.”

The scientist said the team combined spherical nucleic acids with exquisitely engineered molecular beacons dubbed SNAB technology to identify tumor cells from normal cells based on the hallmark of cancer — the uncontrollable growth.

He added that the findings were published in the chemistry journal — ACSNANO in March, noting that uncontrollable growth of tumor cells needed catalysis of telomerase, a special enzyme.

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Through catalysis, he explained, the SNAB technology could add fluorescent dye into tumor cells and make them luminous with red signals.

He noted that the technology proved its ability in distinguishing multiple kinds of tumor cells from normal cells and achieves tumor cell detection across multiple platforms, ranging from solution-based assay to single cell imaging and in-vivo solid tumor imaging.

He said that the technology, if put into clinical trials, could guide surgeons to precisely locate and remove tumors and help to lower the recurrence and death rate of cancer.

“We envision the SNAB technology will impact cancer diagnosis, therapeutic response assessment, and image-guided surgery,” he added.