MasSpec Pen Can Detect Cancer in Just 10 Seconds

Scientists have developed a revolutionary “pen” that can help detect cancer in just 10 seconds. The pen will make detection easier and will also help surgeons remove the cancerous tumors.

MasSpec Pen was the handinwork of researchers from University of Texas. The pen has an accuracy rate of 96% and can detect cancer 150 times faster than conventional means.

An assistant professor of chemistry who designed the study said,

If you talk to cancer patients after surgery, one of the first things many will say is ‘I hope the surgeon got all the cancer out’. It’s just heartbreaking when that’s not the case. But our technology could vastly improve the odds that surgoens really do remove every last trace of cancer during surgery.

Slow Traditional Cancer Detection Methods

In present days, for detection of cancerous cells, scientists use a method called frozen section analysis in which they mark the boundary between cancerous tissues and normal tissues.

This process proved to be slow and unreliable. It takes about half an hour to detect cancer using this method, during which the patient is at a high risk of getting infected in other areas.

Not removing all the cancerous tissues can lead to redevelopment of the tumor whereas removing a sufficiently large amount of healthy tissues can cause pain, nerve damage and deformation.

How The MasSpec Pen Works

  • A tiny drop of water is released by the pen on the tissue to soak up chemicals inside the cell.
  • The soaked up water is then sucked back up to be detected by an instrument called “mass spectrometer” which differentiates between individual molecules of the chemicals absorbed by the pen.
  • Doctors can then view the results on a screen for further analysis.

This is a major advancement in cancer detection technology. Doctors will start testing it in surgeries from 2018.

Via The Verge



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