MasSpec Pen Identifies Cancer During Surgery in Real Time

MasSpec Pen Identifies Cancer During Surgery in Real Time

When surgeons think they've removed all of a tumor, they often also remove a thin layer of surrounding tissue, called the margin, to be sure no cancer cells linger at the edge and increase the risk of relapse.

Researchers tested the prototype on more than 250 samples of human tissue samples from thyroid, lung, ovary and breast cancer tumours and compared them to healthy tissue samples. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have devised a device that can diagnose patients of cancer in few seconds.

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

How does the MasSpec Pen work?

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.

"Unfortunately, this leads to the possibility of additional surgery and/or additional treatments", Deutsch said.

Known as the MasSpec pen, the #Handheld Device can analyse a tissue's molecular composition in ten seconds, once the doctor places the pen on a patient's tissue.

Surgeons can hold the pen against the patient's tissue and trigger the automated analysis with a foot pedal.

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The instrument panel is centred on a 10.2-inch tablet-style touchscreen with nearly all control functions digitised. Crozz II. "We will have a long transition phase in which a wide variety of drive systems will coexist", he said.

A new tool can identify cancerous tissue during surgery in a matter of seconds.

"What is incredible is that through this simple and gentle chemical process, the MasSpec Pen rapidly provides diagnostic molecular information without causing tissue damage", says Eberlin.

"Most of our molecules are water-soluble", Eberlin said.

The droplet is transported into the mass spectrometer through the thin tube, where it is analyzed to determine whether the molecules it contains appear normal or cancerous, Lin said. "Because the metabolites in cancer and normal cells are so different, we extract and analyze them with the MasSpec Pen to obtain a molecular fingerprint of the tissue". Tumor cells have different activity than normal cells do, and researchers have been working for decades to use mass spectrometry to try to identify those differences quickly. It is also unreliable for some types of cancers.

The research team now is tweaking the design of the tool to further improve it, Eberlin said.

Also, it could help doctors "to target radiation therapy to just the right parts of a tumour to kill remaining cancer cells", says TIME.

"The ability to more accurately evaluate the margins in stomach, bile duct, pancreatic and colon cancers could be even more impactful, as the margins in these tumors are notoriously hard to confirm", Deutsch said. The team is hopeful that the pen-sized prototype could be used in clinical trials in early 2018.

In a report from the Science Translational Medicine, it seems that the researchers have created a "pen" called the MasSpec Pen.

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