Man made nanobots someday may fight cancer from the inside. The cancer probes are made of gold and iron, but are just 1,000th the diameter of a human hair.
Armed with an antibody, the nanorods, as they're called, would be injected into the body to seek out the smallest tumors, so they could be destroyed.
So far they've already proven themselves in a test tube. Next, they'll be tried in animals before being used in humans. The studies are being done by biological engineer Joseph Irudayaraj at Purdue University, with results released in the online journal Angewandte Chemie.
The gold nanorods give off light which could be detected by microscopes outside the body. The iron bots are magnetic and would be tracked by an MRI machine.
"If we have a tumor, these probes should have the ability to latch onto it," said Irudayaraj. "The probe could carry drugs to target and treat as well as reveal cancer cells."
The research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.