Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Microchip Spots Cancerous Tumors Within an Hour, Study Shows

Article published today in Health Day News (HERE) describes how an experimental microchip hooked up to a smart phone was faster and more accurate than standard pathology tests for confirming that a suspicious tumor was cancerous.

The new microchip correctly diagnoses 96 percent of cases in 60 minutes with 100 percent accuracy, compared to standard pathology methods typically requiring three or more days to produce a diagnosis only 84 percent accurate. This chip worked on people who already had a suspicious tumor and the results were later validated by biopsy. Of course, the biopsy turned out to be less reliable than the microchip, so one wonders of biopsies will soon be obsolete? 

I don't know how well it would work for asymptomatic people, or for people whose cancer is not currently metastasized. Even with these uncertainties, I find this an exciting development. I imagine future checkups for current cancer patients being much simpler, faster, and more accurate than the current blood draw and 2 week wait. I also look forward to spotting cancer earlier in screening and diagnostic testing.

Hat tip to MCS for sharing this story.