A Smartphone-Enabled Device that Detects Cancer in Under an Hour

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    Mar 13, 2011 6:25 PM GMT
    Because an iPhone is for more than Grindr? icon_razz.gif

    http://singularityhub.com/2011/03/10/a-smartphone-enabled-device-that-detects-cancer-in-under-an-hour/

    If you’re a smartphone naysayer, here’s some news that might make you drink the Kool-Aid along with nearly half of Americans: of the 652 app applications submitted just to Apple every day, an increasing number of healthcare-related apps are starting to trickle in that could actually help save lives. An exciting example comes from the scientists at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital that have knocked it out of the park by integrating a microNMR device that accurately detects cancer cells to a smartphone. Though just a prototype, this device enables a clinician to extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour, and pass the results to other clinicians and into medical records rapidly. How much does the device cost to make? $200. Seriously, smartphones just got their own Samuel L. Jackson-esque wallet.

    Considering that more than 1,500 Americans a day will die of cancer according to the American Cancer Society, which translates into almost 1 in 4 deaths, oncologists have needed a rapid, minimally intrusive, and accurate method for cancer screening for a long time. The beauty of the microNMR device is that it solves a handful of problems that plague current cancer screening methods starting with the risks involved in biopsying tissue. If a suspicious lump is found through a mammogram or a colonoscopy, there is no way to be certain if it’s malignant or benign without testing the tissue directly. In some cases, the patient has to undergo surgery just to have a sufficient amount of tissue removed for testing. But in other cases, a needle biopsy can be performed, which involves inserting a needle into the mass and extracting a small amount of cells. Some doctors and patients are wary of biopsies because of the risks versus the benefits, especially if a biopsy is being repeated due to an inconclusive result. But one of the main reasons cancer rates in the US have been dropping for years is early detection. In fact, early detection is known to lower mortality rates in breast, colon, rectal, and cervical cancer. Ideally, screening of a suspicious lump should involve the least invasive method possible that would produce accurate results, which would ultimately lower hesitations by doctors or patients to test.


    (Click the link to read the whole article, it's kind of interesting)
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    Mar 30, 2011 1:12 PM GMT
    Interesting, but the real test is specificity vs. sensitivity. The article has no comparative data on the two=FAIL