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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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  • wrong kind of dog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slew (2918) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:53PM (#25994969)

    You can use your Deterministic Oncological Generating box ;^)

    or perhaps take advantage of another type of dog...

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0112_060112_dog_cancer.html [nationalgeographic.com]

    Apparently this more common type of dog can be trained to smell certain types of existing cancer (instead of deteriministically generating them) ;^)

  • Re:yawn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Invicta{HOG} (38763) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @06:45PM (#25995687)

    There is no guarantee that this will save lives. That's what studies are for. You are confusing cancer detection (or in this case cancer related protein detection) with cancer therapy.

    Take two examples now available to detect cancer/cancer related proteins. The first, prostate specific antigen (PSA) is elevated in most cases of prostate cancer. This simple blood test was recommended for all men above a certain age to screen for cancer. However, it does its job too well. It finds cancer in so many men that people started wondering whether finding all of this cancer is a good thing. A lot of men are old enough (and prostate cancer grows slowly enough) that they would certainly have died from other causes without ever having a single symptom of prostate cancer. Additionally, the number of biopsies done to find early cancer (or to find that there was no cancer after all!) combined with the amount of morbidity from current modalities of prostate cancer therapy have led many organizations to conclude that screening for prostate cancer does more harm than good.

    A second example comes from the detection of thyroid cancer. Above a certain age, a simple thyroid ultrasound has a fairly good chance of detecting a thyroid nodule. There's a fairly good chance that this nodule will be cancer. However, the risk from dying from this thyroid cancer end up being very low - low enough that the risks from detecting and treating it are higher than the risks of just leaving it be.

    When this has been proven to save lives or improve the quality of life of people with asymptomatic cancer, I will join you in criticizing an admittedly slow and often overly burdensome system. But at this point you can't criticize when the device is so far from proven.

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