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Biotech Medicine Science

Prototype Scanner Detects Cancer In Under 1 Hour 53

Posted by timothy
from the good-news-is-we-have-your-results-already dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Researchers at Stanford say they have developed a blood scanner that can search for cancer-associated proteins in a blood sample and returns results in less than an hour. The device looks in a blood sample for cancerous proteins, and attempts to match them up with complementary proteins using chips based on magnetic nanotechnology. One of the researchers says the device could potentially help doctors identify lung cancer, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer at an early stage. The device still has to undergo clinical testing and trials before it can win regulatory approval."
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Prototype Scanner Detects Cancer In Under 1 Hour

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  • Re:yawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by the4thdimension (1151939) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:00PM (#25994301) Homepage
    Indeed. This thing is a LONG way off. By the time they get this out the door to hospitals for use, someone will have an instant test coming out and we should just be fast-tracking that.

    I work for a company that makes such devices and clinical trials and testing are not even close to the last step. Clinical trials are the beta test, so to speak, and often mean you have months and months of bug fixing and documentation to do. Take a device intended to diagnose patients, and you can multiple that by years. Fourteen years might seem funny, but its actually somewhat accurate. My company has been working on a product for nine years now seeking US approval.
  • Re:Usefulness? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:23PM (#25994605)

    Well, according to the summary the scanner is looking for protiens that are produced by cancerous cells, not the cells themselves. And even if it were the case that it could only detect the cancer cells in the blood, it would still have it's uses. If it could be made cheap enough, it could become a standard test, everytime you visit the doctor. It would still allow us to catch cancer cases earlier than they would have been otherwise even if we couldn't rely on it to detect 100% of all cancer cases.

  • by Invicta{HOG} (38763) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @06:27PM (#25995487)

    This technology is not currently available in the marketplace. There are blood tests that look for tumor markers such as PSA, CEA, CA19-9, etc. and they generally are sent to a large reference laboratory for analysis. This can take up to a week. Traditionally cancer is diagnosed pathologically by looking at a tissue sample underneath a microscope. Aside from the obvious need to undergo a biopsy, this can often be done quickly (pathologist standing in the OR, the surgeon hands the sample over, they read it then and there). However, the hour time frame is not the real story here - it's the ability to combine all of this screening in the first place.

  • Re:Usefulness? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:38PM (#25998657) Homepage

    It would still allow us to catch cancer cases earlier than they would have been otherwise even if we couldn't rely on it to detect 100% of all cancer cases.

    Careful what you ask for, you might get it. A large number of cancers, perhaps the majority of them, are 'cured' by the immune system at very early stages. Even some Breast Cancers seen on mammograms will involute. (A Google search is in order if you're curious). If you are not very careful to understand the biology of the cancer in question you will end up creating a) a lot of angst on the patient's part b) a lot of angst on the doctor's part c) extra costs for what amount to unnecessary tests d) the real possibility that those tests might HARM the patient rather than help.

    Other cancers grow so slowly that detection of small numbers of cells very early on will create enormous clinical controversies - how do you treat a $_random_cancer that is seen only in a micro array test given that standard therapy for clinically apparent $_random_cancer might include radiation, surgery or a host of chemicals that would give even Saddam Hussein the willies?

    These will be interesting lab devices, but I don't see picking one up in your local Lucky Dragon [technovelgy.com] anytime soon.

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