Magnetic particles that seek out and kill prostate cancer cells at an early stage of the disease are being developed by British scientists.
Researchers at the University of Leicester say the magnetic nanoparticles could be used to treat prostate cancer at the same time as finding it.
The university has been awarded a £321,000 grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to develop the nanotechnology.
The magnetic particles find and stick to prostate tumour cells so they can be seen on MRI scans. The nanoparticles then burn up the cancer cells when zapped with radio waves.
More than 34,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK.
Scientists say the pioneering treatment could also be applied to other aggressive cancers, such as liver, breast and colon, where early diagnosis is crucial.
Dr Su, of the Department of Chemistry, said: ‘Prostate cancer cure rates are predicated on early diagnosis and treatment.
‘The technology that we are developing offers the potential of both the identification and treatment of prostate cancer in a highly selective manner.’