Intel's nanotechnolgy knowledge is being used to develop improved methods of studying, diagnosing and preventing cancer.
The chip giant's collaborative research effort with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle uses technology employed in silicon chip fabrication plants to detect molecular anomalies that can identify cancer cells.
Intel is building a Raman Bioanalyser System at the research centre. It uses this system to analyse subtle chemical compositions during the chip fabrication process. Because every substance has a unique chemical composition, every substance produces a unique Raman spectrum - the equivalent of a chemical barcode tag.
At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, medical researchers hope the system will help them identify proteins in human blood serum that show susceptibility to or presence of diseases such as cancer.
Andrew Berlin, lead researcher in Intel's precision biology programme, said: "The instrument beams lasers onto tiny medical samples, such as blood serum, to create images that reveal the chemical structure of molecules.
"The goal is to determine if this technology, previously used to detect microscopic imperfections on silicon chips, can also detect subtle traces of disease."
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