Friday, April 04, 2008

Indian origin US scientist sees Tumors deep inside the body

It's a double joy for Indians as "Indian-origin" US scientists along with his team of US researchers has discovered a new technique that can further be useful in the cancer surgery more efficiently.

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, the team leader of researchers and the professor of Radiology in Stanford University school of Medicine have developed a new technique that can magnify the tiny diminutive tumors by 1,000 times molecules deep inside the human body, which has paved the way for more efficiently cancer surgery.
Sanjiv and his team have used the ‘Raman Effect’ technique that has not been used so far in biological microscopic viewing but vastly used in other scientific researches. Raman Effect was invented by great Indian scientist Chandrashekhar Ventak Raman in 1920 for which he had won Noble prize in Physics.

According to Sanjiv, “Raman spectroscopy expands the available toolbox for the field of molecular imaging.” “This is an entirely new way of imaging living subjects, not based on anything previously used.”

Illustrating the Raman effect, the lead researcher Gambhir said that signals from Raman spectroscopy were stronger and longer-lived than other available methods, and the type of particles used in this method could transmit information about multiple types of molecular targets simultaneously.

Generally scientist can measure one or two things at a time from the current available techniques, but “With this, we can now likely see 10, 20, 30 things at once,” said Gambhir.

The researchers team of Stanford University School of Medicine had tested the system on mice through injecting them with various engineered Raman nanoparticles and then analysed the anesthetized mice under a special microscope where they were exposed to laser light.

The Scientist found that there were several nanoparticles tagged with the different pieces of proteins probing towards different tumor molecules.

Describing about the ‘Raman Effect’ Sam cited that Stanford researchers team has utilised this technique in the innovative way in which the light (laser) hits the object, roughly one in 10 million photons bouncing off the object’s molecules with an increase or decrease in energy is known as Raman scattering. This sort of scattering pattern is unique to each type of molecule and can be measured scientifically, which is also called as spectral fingerprint.

Gambhir has elaborated that this techniques has been developed from currently popular Positron Emission Tomography (PET) techniques that was discovered 20 or 30 years ago but could not be used in this field. Nowadays, PET has become a routine hospital imaging technique that uses radioactive molecules to generate a three-dimensional image of body biochemistry.

“Nobody understood the impact of PET then,” said Sanjiv while “Ten or fifteen years from now, people should appreciate the impact of this.” he indicated the relevance of this technique.
The researcher team of Stanford University is further studying the impact of Raman nanoparticles throughout the body over the course of several days before they are excreted. The team is also optimizing the particle size and dosage and its hazardous effects on the body.

Postdoctoral scholars Shay Keren, Cristina Zavaleta, Zhen Cheng, Adam de la Zerda, and Oliver Gheysens were among the team of Dr. Sanjiv for founding the way to make Raman spectroscopy a medical tool. The research has been published on March 31, 2008 in an advance online issue of the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” and funded by National Institutes for Health and Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence.

Sources: Press Release of Stanford University, School of Medicine. For more information do visit

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