Scientists at UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and MIT have developed nanometer-sized “nanoworms” that can travel through the bloodstream and — like tiny anti-cancer missiles — zero in on tumors. These can circulate in the body for hours since they do not trigger the immune system.
These nanoworms, composed of magnetic iron oxide and coated with a polymer, are able to find and attach to tumors. The nanoworms are superparamagnetic and show up very well on MRIs.
Using these nanoworms, doctors could eventually be able to target and reveal the location of developing tumors that are too small to detect by conventional methods.
With the use of this nanoworms concept, researchers are developing chemical attachments that will help to reach specific targets in the body, and are adding drugs that would be released when these targets are reached.