A team of researchers recently presented its latest invention, a so-called cancer pen named the MasSpec Pen which can reportedly diagnose the disease in just a number of seconds.
This handheld device is presented as being both fast and accurate, as it could help improve cancer treatment methods and reportedly reduce its risks of recurrence.
The Cancer Pen Can Place a Diagnosis in 10 Seconds
University of Texas, Austin scientists are behind this new invention, which was designed and led by Livia Schiavinato Eberlin. Their device, the MasSpec Pen, can rapidly and accurately diagnose cancer during surgery. It can reportedly do so in just 10 seconds or some 150 faster than the existing technologies.
The handheld device was already tested on tissue samples removed from 253 human patients diagnosed with cancer. According to reports, the cancer pen was capable of detecting the disease even in marginal regions. Located between cancer tissue and normal one, these presented mixed cellular composition. The pen was also noted to have been 96 percent accurate during these tests.
MasSpec works by releasing a tiny drop of water from its tip to the patient’s tissue. This is quickly recaptured and then sent to a mass spectrometer in the pen. A scientific device, this helps analyze the mass, and chemical composition of the molecules soaked up from the tissue.
“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,” state the scientists.
The mass spectrometer then helps establish if the tissue is cancerous or not, and returns its results in just ten seconds on a computer screen.
The MasSpec Pen to Begin Real-Time Testing?
This cancer pen can reportedly identify even subtypes of cancer, besides the different types of the disease itself. It can do so as each one of them produces its unique set of biomarkers. Ones that are considered a sort of molecular “fingerprints”.
The team is hoping to start testing their new device during oncological surgeries by 2018. However, they also point out that it might still be years before the MasSpec Pen will start being regularly used.
A paper with the study results and the pen’s specifications is available in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Image Source: Pixabay
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