Calligraphy ink and cancer treatment

Dec 07 16:12 2017 Print This Article

Courtesy of ACS Omega and the researchers

Nice illustration! I wish I could credit the artist. For anyone who needs a little text to make sense of it, there’s a Sept. 27, 2017 news item on Nanowerk (Note: A link has been removed),

For hundreds of years, Chinese calligraphers have used a plant-based ink to create beautiful messages and art. Now, one group reports in ACS Omega (“New Application of Old Material: Chinese Traditional Ink for Photothermal Therapy of Metastatic Lymph Nodes”) that this ink could noninvasively and effectively treat cancer cells that spread, or metastasize, to lymph nodes.

A Sept. 27, 2017 American Chemical Society (ACS) news release, which originated the news item, reveals more about the research,

As cancer cells leave a tumor, they frequently make their way to lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. In this case, the main treatment option is surgery, but this can result in complications. Photothermal therapy (PTT) is an emerging noninvasive treatment option in which nanomaterials are injected and accumulate in cancer cells. A laser heats up the nanomaterials, and this heat kills the cells. Many of these nanomaterials are expensive, difficult-to-make and toxic. However, a traditional Chinese ink called Hu-Kaiwen ink (Hu-ink) has similar properties to the nanomaterials used in PTT. For example, they are the same color, and are both carbon-based and stable in water. So Wuli Yang and colleagues wanted to see if Hu-ink could be a good alternative material for PTT.

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About Article Author


FrogHeart provides commentary about nanotech, science policy and communication, society, and the arts. Run by Maryse de la Giroday, a science communications consultant and writer, FrogHeart is one of the largest independent scince blogs in Canada. Since the websites launch in 1994, Giroday's list of clients includes Océ NV, Telgate Systems, Nortel Networks, Redback Systems, Forintek, Gretag AG, Inetco Systems, and Creo Products (which later became part of Kodak). She has also taught in SFU’s Writing and Communications Program. Giroday earned a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University in 1992 and a Masters in Creative Writing and New Media from De Montford University in Leicester, UK.


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