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Biotech Medicine Science

New Nanotech Helps Detect Early-Stage Cancer 18

CWmike writes "Stanford University researchers have used nanotechnology and magnetics to create a biosensor that they said should be able to detect cancer in its early stages. The sensor, which sits on a microchip, is 1,000 times more sensitive than cancer detectors used clinically today, say scientists at Stanford. The researchers announced this week that the sensors have been effective in finding early-stage tumors in mice, giving them hope that it can be equally successful in detecting elusive cancers in humans. 'In the early stage [of a cancer], the protein biomarker level in blood is very, very low, so you need ultra-sensitive technology to detect it,' said Shan Wang, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford. 'If you can detect it early, you can have early intervention and you have a much better chance to cure that person.' Wang also noted that the biosensor could be used to determine whether chemotherapy or other cancer treatments are working after only a few days."
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New Nanotech Helps Detect Early-Stage Cancer

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  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:46AM (#29777907) Homepage

    If this device is 1000x more sensitive than anything we've had before, it seems to me that we have no real data about how such a low level corresponds to actual cancer risk.

    It's been well known for decades that cancer cells are commonly created in the body. Most of the time the immune system takes care of them before cancer gets a foothold. One question I have is, will this sensor be so sensitive it'll detect the normal everyday cancer that our immune system would normally fight off by itself? This could lead to un-necessary intervention, which can cause more harm than good.

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