Cancer, in all its forms, has long impacted families across the globe, namely because of its ability to strip a person of their good health and, sometimes, their life.
This is why any advances in cancer research are imperative in furthering our fight against the illness that is responsible for stealing the lives away from almost 45,000 Australians each year.
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have created a diagnostic tool, known as the MasSpec Pen, to differentiate between tumours and healthy tissues when removing cancer from a patient’s body.
WATCH the heartbreaking moment Richard 'Dickie' Wilkinson told the nation that Olivia Newton John had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Article continues after this video.
According to TIME, when a surgeon removes a tumour from someone’s body, they typically remove as much surrounding cancerous tissue as possible in the process.
However, what this pen-like device does is use tiny droplets of water to test the human tissue as a surgeon removes the tumour. This test, which is yet to be FDA approved in the US, takes 10 seconds to show results and is so far showing 96% accuracy.
This test is so important because, currently, when these tissues are removed, their sent to labs where the results may not appear for days at a time. This new test provides instant results.
Not only that, but when tested on mice, the MasSpec Pen detected different subtypes of lung and thyroid cancers.
“This is a good example of a tool that empowers our transition to precision medicine where the treatment can be done with much higher levels of confidence,” says professor of biomedical engineering in UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering Thomas Milner, who also authored the study.
“Treatment can be planned and given where the outcomes are known. This is one tool along that path.”
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