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NMR Scanner Diagnoses Cancer in 1 Hour

NMR Scanner Diagnoses Cancer in 1 Hour

American researchers develop a device that can diagnose cancer accurately in less than an hour…

American researchers develop a device that can diagnose cancer accurately in less than an hour…
Researchers in the U.S have developed device that can diagnose whether a lump on the body is cancerous or benign in less than 1 hour.

The device works by analyzing the way nuclei respond to magnetic fields. First small cell samples are taken from the suspect tumor, magnetic nanoparticles are then attached to the cells and injected into the scanner. By applying a magnetic field to the cells, the NMR scanner is able to identify 9 proteins associated with cancer, and combining just 4 of these markers allows doctors to make a diagnosis. The scanner simply connects to a smartphone and uses and accompanying app to display the results.

portable nuclear magnetic resonance device diagnoses cancer

Portable NMR Device Diagnoses Cancer In 1 Hour

The current procedure to diagnose cancer involves taking a biopsy from the suspect tumor, then sending the sample to the lab for analysis a process that can take up to few days. Another downside to biopsies samples is that the results are only 74 to 84 percent accurate, and a case of misdiagnosis, positive or negative, can have drastic effects on a patient’s mental well-being.

Dr Ralph Weissleder of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and his team who developed the device, reported that out in the first clinical trial involving 50 patients, 48 were accurately diagnosed. A later trial on a further 20 patients resulted in 100 percent accurate diagnosis.

All the participants were tested and diagnosed within 1 hour, and because the samples the samples taken are so small, doctors are able to extract cells from several places in and around the suspect tumor. This yields a greater accuracy rate, one that can be seen from the first and second wave of results.

Aside from the mental health benefits of a more immediate diagnosis, the higher accuracy rate also reduces the need for repeat biopsies. And the medical benefits of the new NMR scanner do not stop there, the team hopes that in the future the device will also be able to monitor how patient’s are responding to drugs and other treatments.

The paper was published in the published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Image Credit: R. Weissleder.

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