Detecting cancer from a drop of blood

 

An innovative tool may be able to detect cancer easily and quickly from a minuscule amount of blood.

Researchers at the University of Kansas in the United States have developed an ultrasensitive cancer-detecting device called ‘3-D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip’ that successfully detects cancer markers in the tiniest drop of blood or in a component of the blood called plasma.

The new device identifies and diagnoses cancer by ‘filtering’ for exosomes, which are tiny vesicles that some cells produce. In the case of cancer cells, exosomes contain biological information that can direct tumor growth and spread.

The researchers say their device is easy to make, as well as being cheap to produce, meaning that wide distribution could be possible without increasing patient costs.

Even more importantly, the researchers argue that this innovative device is, in principle, very adaptable. They believe that in the future, doctors could use it to diagnose many different forms of cancer, as well as other diseases.