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Mapping metastases

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University and Hybrid Silica Technologies Inc. have developed a silica nanoparticle-based imaging agent that detects micrometastases in the lymph nodes of two animal models of melanoma.1 The nanoparticles can be used for both PET and fluorescence imaging, and the researchers believe it could help noninvasively detect lymph node metastases prior to surgery and, along with handheld devices, guide tumor resection during surgery.

In January, the investigators started a Phase 0 microdosing trial of the nanoparticles in metastatic melanoma patients. The researchers are also forming a new company, Clinical Silica Technologies Inc., to pursue diagnostic and therapeutic applications of the nanoparticle platform.

Michelle Bradbury, who led the team that developed the technology, is the principal investigator for the trial, which will use PET scans to look at pharmacokinetics, safety and

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