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A ‘Pen’ that identifies Cancer in 10 seconds.

Picture: UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Scientists at the University of Texas have developed a device that can identify cancerous tissue in 10 seconds. They said it could make surgery to remove a tumor quicker, safer and more precise. The MasSpec Pen takes advantage of the unique metabolism of cancer cells.

The pen is touched on to a suspected cancer and releases a tiny droplet of water. Chemicals inside the living cells move into the droplet, which is then sucked back up by the pen for analysis.

The pen is plugged into a mass spectrometer – a piece of kit that can measure the mass of thousands of chemicals every second. It produces a chemical fingerprint that tells doctors whether they are looking at healthy tissue or cancer.

The technology has been tested on 253 samples as part of the study. The plan is to continue testing to refine the device before unveiling it during operations next year. The Tests published in Science Translational Medicine, suggest the technology is 96% accurate of the time.

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