Pen-like tool detects cancer in seconds

Pen-like tool detects cancer in seconds

Unlike existing mass spectrometry tools that require harsh solvents, pressurized gasses, or high voltages, the MasSpec Pen gathers molecules for analysis using only water. Meanwhile, the pen releases a drop of water onto the tissue, and small molecules from the tissue migrate into the water.

An astonishing new piece of tech has been developed that could allow surgeons operating on a patient to test whether or not a tissue is cancerous in under 10 seconds.

The current state-of-the-art method for diagnosing cancers and determining the boundary between cancer and normal tissue during surgery, called frozen section analysis, is slow and sometimes inaccurate.

"If you talk to patients at their output an operation of a cancerous tumor, most will tell you right away", I hope that the surgeon removed all the cancer, " says Livia Eberlin, a chemist at the university of Texas at Austin (United States).

A handheld device that looks like a pen can identify a cancer tissue within 10 seconds and it could be a safer, quicker and precise way of removing a tumour through surgery, according to scientists at the University of Texas.

This is the most highly experimented device, besides that the laboratory tests report shows that MasSpec Pen uses the molecular fingerprints for distinguishing the healthy cells and cancerous ones with providing the highest accuracy that the today's technology. This technology is the three.

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"Each type of cancer produces a unique set of metabolites and other biomarkers that act as fingerprints", the study said. This pen allows us to be more exact in what tissue we eliminate and which one we leave behind. The surgeons are also interested, but during the procedure, it is sometimes hard to distinguish cancer cells from other, and therefore to determine with precision the area to be removed. The team plan to start testing the device during surgeries carried out in 2018 and have filed United States applications for the technology. 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. It's the first handheld diagnostic device that causes absolutely no damage to the target tissue, even at a microscopic level.

In tests performed on human samples, the device was more than 96 percent accurate for cancer diagnosis.

The pen simply needs to be held against the tissue while a foot pedal is used to kick off the process.

"When designing the MasSpec Pen, we made sure the tissue remains intact by coming into contact only with water and the plastic tip of the MasSpec Pen during the procedure", says Zhang.

It is then sucked back up and analysed by an instrument called a mass spectrometer, which can detect thousands of molecules, before doctors are given the results on a computer screen.

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