Scientists are adapting the latest techniques for studying stars and distant galaxies to help in the battle against cancer. Researchers from Leicester University's physics and astronomy department have spent the past decade devising a new system of X-ray detectors, called microchannel plates, which will be launched into space later this year as part of the AXAF satellite mission to study galaxies.
They are now developing the science behind the plates, which enables them to produce high-resolution, low-noise images. A prototype is expected to be developed over the next month, providing biologists with a simple and effective way of tracking radioactive isotopes injected into living organisms. This could help doctors find tumours.