Cancer cell detection is important so as to provide appropriate treatment and remove them. A handheld, pen-like device is been developed by a research team at the University of Texas, Austin, that can spot cancerous tissues during surgery in about 10 Seconds, giving hope that processes to eliminate cancer can be made faster, safer and accurate.
The MasSpec Pen identifies cancer more than 150x quicker than the existing technology. Surgeons are guided by the device by informing them which tissue to preserve or cut, thus enhancing the surgery and decreasing the possibility of recurrence.
The researchers hope that if the new tool is permitted for clinical usage, it will circumvent the misfortune of leaving any cancer behind. Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, Study Lead, said, “If you speak after surgery to cancer patients, one of the primary things majority of them will state is ‘I expect the surgeon got the entire cancer out.’ It is just upsetting when that is not the scenario. But our technology can greatly enhance the likelihood that surgeons actually do take away every last piece of cancer tissue during surgery.”
The existing technique for differentiating between cancerous and healthy tissue is known as Frozen Section Analysis, a time-consuming process that can require more than 30 Minutes to set up and read. For few cancer types, it is also imprecise, giving undependable outcomes in up to 20% of cases. The new technology takes benefit of the dissimilarity in metabolism between cancerous cells and normal ones. A unique metabolite set (metabolism products) and other substances are produced by every cancer that serve as the tissue’s molecular fingerprint.
When the MasSpec pen is kept near a suspected cancer, it discharges a small water drop, to which the metabolites and additional biomarkers get drifted. The water droplet is then drawn up by the pen and evaluated by a mass spectrometer linked to the device. Thousands of chemicals can be assessed each second by this device. A fingerprint is then generated that notifies the surgeon if the tissue is cancerous or not.
The MasSpec pen was utilized to examine 253 tissue samples taken from cancer patients. Around 10 Seconds were required by the device to identify cancer and was accurate more than 96% in doing so. Also, it spotted cancer in marginal regions between cancerous and healthy tissue that had a varied cell composition. Eberlin mentions what is stimulating about the technique is that it evidently fulfills a clinical need.