A technique jellyfish use to glow in the dark could help shed new light on cancer.
British scientists have found a way of using luminous cells from jellyfish to spot tumours deep within the human body. Researcher Professor Norman Maitland believes the technology could be at least ten times better than CT scanners at detecting tumours.
He said: ‘Cancers deep within the body are difficult to spot at an early stage and early diagnosis is critical for the successful treatment of any form of cancer. What we have developed is a process which involves inserting proteins derived from luminous jellyfish cells into human cancer cells. Then, when we illuminate the tissue, a special camera detects these proteins as they light up, indicating where the tumours are.’
American chemist Roger Tsien won the Nobel Prize for chemistry two years ago for purifying the protein behind the jellyfish’s glow.
‘When we heard about Dr Tsien’s work, we realised how that advance might be useful in the diagnosis of cancer,’ said Professor Maitland.