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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Prostate cancer impacts some 200,000 American men every year, that’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, fascinating research happening right here in North Texas could one day provide new options for early detection and treatment.

“This was kind of a total change of direction,” explained Liping Tang, Ph.D, interim chair of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Bioengineering Department. “It turned out to be pretty powerful, pretty useful.”

After spending more than a decade working to manufacture human tissue, Dr. Tang discovered that man-made lymph nodes can act as traps for cancer cells. “You can get the loads of bad cells in one small, tiny place, and you can kill it.”

According to Dr. Tang, the discovery could also make treatments more effective. “[It] can also help the doctor to target their drugs or radiation in one tiny place of the body, so that way we reduce the whole body toxicity or damage.”

The synthetic lymph nodes were ideal as a research tool, because the lymph nodes are one of the first places where cancer cells are detected as it spreads.

Dr. Tang has already received a half million dollar grant from the US Army to continue his research. But, says he’s still several years away from clinical trials.

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