The latest finding, which was discovered while studying activated platelets in the setting of heart disease, may now prove useful for delivering targeted treatment to cancer cells without major side effects.
Platelets are small blood cells that promote blood clotting and prevent us from bleeding when we are injured.
Platelets and more specifically, "activated platelets", accumulate in the area surrounding a wide range of tumour types.
Based on this observation, a team at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia has now developed a new imaging and platelet-targeting chemotherapy agent for the early detection and treatment of cancers.
In addition, this approach provides the means to deliver high concentrations of chemotherapy specifically to tumour cells whilst minimising side effects and preventing tumour growth, said the study published in the journal Theranostics.
"We have shown that we can image 'activated platelets' to detect tumours with clinically available imaging technologies such as ultrasound and PET/CT," said Karlheinz Peter, Professor at the varsity.