Feb 15 2015

There’s Gold In Them-Thar Nanotubes! – Medical Advances Now Tied to Technological Acceleration

There’s Gold In Them-Thar Nanotubes! – Medical Advances Now Tied to Technological Acceleration

The idea that medical advances are now accelerating along with advances in technology is well represented by this February 2015 release from the University of Leeds. Gold nano-tubes, microscopic  straw-shaped particles, can be injected in a patient and used in three ways;

1) High resolution imaging of a cancer tumour

2) Delivery of drugs to precise locations

3) Destruction of cancer cells by getting heated up by special lasers


Credit Jing Claussen

Gold Nanotubes Get Heated-up By Near Infrared Lasers- Image Credit Jing Claussen

Pulsed near infrared light (shown in red) is shone onto a tumour (shown in white) that is encased in blood vessels. The tumour is imaged by multispectral optoacoustic tomography via the ultrasound emission (shown in blue) from the gold nanotubes.

The nanotubes can be tumour-targeted and have a central ‘hollow’ core that can be loaded with a therapeutic payload. This combination of targeting and localised release of a therapeutic agent could, in this age of personalised medicine, be used to identify and treat cancer with minimal toxicity to patients.   –  Dr James McLaughlan, from the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds

The acceleration of technological advances is in some ways an obvious phenomenon – for instance when we look at how cell phones keep getting better, faster, smaller, more powerful and cheaper. What may not be so obvious is that technology driven innovation in other areas – like medicine – is only recently advancing at similar clips. Previously, medical advances were more hit-and-miss. Our past experience of how the whole medical enterprise has moved along is likely that things have been progressing very gradually.

Only in recent decades have medical advances taken off with the input of multiple, technology based boosters, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, 3d-printing, robotics, big-data, sensor technology, DIY wearable medical devices and so on.

As it takes awhile for new advances to make their way into our lives and in the medical clinic setting, we may think things have not changed that much – but we would be wrong. An extraordinary wave of new interventions, treatments, medical tools and new and more precise medical knowledge is upon us. They will propel the progression of better and faster diagnosis, treatments, cures and prevention,

Truly interesting times ahead! I look forward to offering you some helpful ideas on these pages. Your ideas and comments are always welcome.

Live long, live well, and prosper!








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