I was touched that so many of you wrote in to share your own stories about watching a loved one battle cancer, or having been through it yourself. No doubt it's a terrible disease.
That's why today I want to talk about another cancer breakthrough that epitomizes this new era.
It's found in gold.
As it turns out, gold is a natural-born killer of unhealthy human cells. It has distinct properties that make it ideal for linking medical science with the new field of nanotech.
I believe the yellow metal will play a vital role in the Era of Radical Change, in which human beings routinely live healthy, productive lives well into our hundreds. And gold's growing use in both biotech and nanotech will greatly expand our chances to score big stock gains, too.
A new kind of gold rush has started. And not only can you make money from it - it could also save the human race from the most deadly diseases.
I predict that by the end of this decade, gold will be used as a lethal weapon in the battle against a wide range of killer tumors.
It has to do with so-called gold nanoparticles.
The odds are good you've seen "nano gold" in the past but didn't even know it. If you've ever looked at a photo of stained-glass windows in old medieval European churches, the red and yellow in those scenes came from nanoparticles of gold and silver embedded in the glass.
Fact is, we've been putting these tiny specks of gold to use, in one form or another, for centuries. But they've only lately become a key tool for fighting disease and making new medical discoveries.
Take the recent breakthrough from a team at Stanford University.
Scientists there used nano gold to find and highlight aggressive forms of brain tumors. They used tiny gold spheres so small it boggles the mind - they measured less than five one-millionths of an inch in diameter. Each piece of nano gold was coated with an agent that allowed the tiny balls to be viewed with three different types of body imaging techniques.
In this test at Stanford, team members found they could see and remove tumors marked by nano gold from the brains of mice with the highest degree of accuracy reported to date.
Here's why that's so important.
The Advantages of Nano GoldWith current approaches, it is quite difficult for doctors to know if they have removed all of a tumor. That's why they often do a full mastectomy to be sure breast cancer is fully eradicated.
But because every part of the brain is so vital to the rest of the body, surgeons cannot take out extra brain tissue just to make sure they removed the entirety of the cancerous tumor.
"You clearly have to leave as much of the healthy brain intact as you possibly can," said Dr. Sam Gambhir, who chairs Stanford's radiology unit. "Now we can learn the tumor's extent before we go into the operating room." Gambhir made his remarks along with his findings published in the journal Nature Medicine.
As it turns out, Ghambir is a leader in the field of molecular imaging; he has won a string of awards.
And he's a leader we, as investors, should track for one very important reason beyond this current study: He has served as a key advisor to several biotech firms. That means he has an eye for the money-making aspects of this research...
One of these boards puts Ghambir directly in contact with Big Pharma.
He's on the scientific advisory board at Enlight Biosciences, which is something of a biotech incubator. It has the backing of such industry giants as Abbot, Merck, and Pfizer. And it covers a wide range of cutting-edge biotech fields, ranging from drug delivery to custom treatments for patients to creating novel drug compounds.
So we'll be keeping an eye on them.
Meantime, Gambhir's Stanford study could vastly improve treatment for brain cancer. To be sure, brain tumors affect a limited number of patients. About 14,000 people a year in the U.S. contract brain cancer, of which only about 3,000 get the most aggressive form that the Gambhir team studied.
But today, brain tumors rank No. 2 for cancer-related deaths in people under age 20. So this nano gold breakthrough will certainly give thousands of young people and their parents and friends new reason for hope.
What's more, the impact will grow over time, because these are some of the toughest surgeries doctors must now perform. And this breakthrough could have an impact far beyond treating brain tumors.
You see, the nano gold markers could give doctors a better view of a wide range of diseases, particularly cancers.
For his part, Gambhir sees another way to move this field forward. Because it's fairly easy to heat up nano gold, the particles might be used to destroy the tumors themselves.
That technology would be nothing short of revolutionary. Just think what it would mean to the entire human race if you could inject nano gold in a patient's body and watch the metal destroy a tumor or some other form of cancer.
So don't think of gold as just a great hedge against inflation and mounting U.S. debt.
Because when it comes to fighting disease and saving lives, nano gold just may become the most precious metal of all.
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