Toshiba Devises an Affordable Test to Diagnose Cancer

Toshiba, under its new five-year business strategy, has developed a technology that uses microRNA molecules in the blood to detect cancer.

For those who don’t know, cancer cells secrete microRNA in the blood of the patient. Analyzing this microRNA not only confirms the presence of cancer but can also help detect the type of cancer.

Toshiba started its new five-year business strategy in April this year and has decided to expand its portfolio to medical business including cell diagnosis and genome analysis. Under this plan, the company has come up with a new technology that can detect 13 different types of cancer with 99 percent accuracy in less than 2 hours.

The new system will use a chip and a small device to conduct the diagnosis and it will cost $180 per test. It can be used to efficiently detect gastric, esophageal, lung, liver, biliary tract, pancreatic, bowel, ovarian, prostate, bladder and breast cancers along with glioma and sarcoma.

Commercializing it Soon

Toshiba collaborated with the National Cancer Center Research Institute and Tokyo Medical University for the project and is hoping to commercialize it within a few years. Currently, the company is planning to begin trials next year.

This is not the first time that something like this has been manufactured. Toray Industries Inc. along with other industries have already designed equipment to diagnose cancer. According to Koji Hashimoto, Chief Research Scientist at Toshiba’s Frontier Research Laboratory,

Compared to other companies’ methods, we have an edge in the degree of accuracy in cancer detection, the time required for detection and the cost.

  • $180 is not very affordable in a lot of the countries in the world. People in poorer countries can’t afford that test. Hopefully the tech is improved and worked upon to bring the cost even lower.

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