United States scientists develop new 'pen' which can identify cancer within 10 seconds

United States scientists develop new 'pen' which can identify cancer within 10 seconds

United States scientists develop new 'pen' which can identify cancer within 10 seconds

"The differing chemistry of a cancerous cell and normal brain tissue means the laser help surgeons find the outside edge of a tumour", says a BBC report.

"It's just heartbreaking when that's not the case".

Study leader Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, of the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues say that the tool could vastly improve the accuracy of cancer surgery and help to reduce recurrence of the disease.

The team believes that the MasSpec Pen could offer faster, more accurate detection of cancerous tissue during surgery. This process is slow and sometimes inaccurate.

The samples can take up to 30 minutes to prepare and interpret by a pathologist.

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The device can even determine different types and even subtypes of cancer, since each cancer produces a unique set of biomarkers that act as its molecular "fingerprints", the researchers added.

However, distinguishing between healthy and cancerous tissue can prove tricky for surgeons, making it hard for them to remove all cancer remnants.

Their idea is for a surgeon to be able to use the pen during surgery to test the remaining tissue after a tumor is removed to see if it's healthy.

A cancer patient has to go through numerous diagnosis like reviewing health history, Lab (blood, urine, etc) tests, Imaging tests (X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, etc), Endoscopy, Biopsy, and many others.

"This technology does all three".

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Although maximizing cancer removal is critical to improve patient survival, removing too much healthy tissue can also have profound negative consequences for patients. This escalates the risk of infection in a patient.

They also detected cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancerous tissues that presented mixed cellular composition.

The device's potential accuracy is as valuable as its easy use, said Dr. Gary Deutsch, a surgical oncologist with Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, N.Y. The MasSpec Pen enables controlled and automated delivery of a discrete water droplet to a tissue surface for efficient extraction of biomolecules, which is then delivered to the mass spectrometer for molecular analysis. It lets off a drop of water, which can be shed over the tissue in question. The mass spectrometer is a very powerful analytical technique that measures and identifies molecules and generates a molecular profile or a molecular 'fingerprint.' This fingerprint is evaluated by a statistical classifier that provides a predictive diagnosis with an associated probability.

But the process can take as long as a half hour, during which time the patient remains on the table and under anesthesia.

The MasSpec Pen is a hand-held device that allows doctors to test in real-time whether tissue is cancerous or not, delivering results in about 10 seconds, researchers report.

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