UCSB researchers have developed a technology that could lead to advances in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. The technology, which combines a technique called surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) with silver nanoparticles, discriminates cancerous from noncancerous cells in bodily fluids. This may allow cancer cells to be detected in the blood, which are thought to be a primary indicator of metastasizing disease. Postdoctoral fellow Alessia Pallaoro explained that when preloaded with a peptide molecule and hit with a laser beam, silver nanoparticles that attach to cancerous cells give them away with an array of colors.


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