Posted by: 2in10 | 02/25/2011

handheld scanners for cancer

A tiny note in on page 21 in today’s Boston Herald announced, “Harvard and MIT scientists created a handheld scanner that can detect cancer at a patient’s bedside using just a speck of tissue, according to the journal Science Translational Medicine.”

That got my attention. Some inquiring on the Internet turned up other references to a handheld device, wand-like, developed at the University of Bologne in Italy, that emits radio waves in a range of frequencies. Tumor cells resonate differently from normal cells so their return signals indicate the presence of cancer. For prostate cancer the detection rate was better than 90 percent. For breast cancer, 66 percent.

The Tissue Resonance Interferometer (“Trimprobe” for short) evolved from the development of detection devices for landmines and plastic explosives.

Another reference to hand-held pertained to a scanner that detects early-stage skin cancer. The MoleMate sends lightwaves 2mm into the skin; plastic surgeons can use the returning signals to gather data for diagnosis — quickly and non-invasively.

Another device developed by Stanford University researchers uses magnetic nanotechnology to detect cancer proteins in blood. Benefits: quick test results, no tissue sample needed, and early detection. However, blood must be specially prepared so for now these would be used in a hospital setting.

These sound like great applications for developed and developing nations.

Carolyn

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