National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA’s work aids in fight against cancer

February 4, 2016

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World Cancer Day encourages citizens worldwide to take action, raise awareness, and garner support in the campaign to end cancer. Inherent in NNSA’s missions are technological developments for detection, computation, and chemistry—with benefits for cancer research.

Scientists at NNSA’s laboratories receive both federal and private recognition for their work that has a huge impact on cancer research. One exceptional young scientist received an award from NIH for her computational work to learn more about how cancer progresses. Both Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory partner with universities to expand cancer research capabilities.

Cancer breakthroughs at NNSA labs include uncovering how a protein stops prostate cancer metastasis to bone, an association between a virus and bladder cancer, production of medical isotopes that fight cancer, a drug to destroy childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, use of nanoparticles to destroy cancerous cells, and development of a high-resolution gamma camera used for prostate cancer detection.

NNSA’s work in nonproliferation has led to development of very sensitive and often non-invasive monitoring and detection technologies that have applications in cancer detection and treatment. NNSA retrained nuclear weapons scientists internationally to work in cancer treatment. A recently developed laser plasma accelerator can be used in scanning devices to spot hidden nuclear materials and for radiotherapy treatments for cancer.

Learn more about how NNSA’s labs and work tie into cancer research here.