SEP 14, 2017 7:57 AM PDT

The Pen That Can Instantly Detect Cancer


Medical science often resembles science fiction, especially when new gadgets and technology aids are invented. Engineers at the University of Texas-Austin have come up with the most recent advance, a "pen" that uses mass spectrometry to detect cancer cells, in real time. Dubbed the "MassSpec" pen, just touching it to tissue can tell if the tissue is cancerous. It has tremendous promise in surgery where physicians need to know how much tissue to remove to get all of the cancer, but not too much of the surrounding healthy tissue.

It works by depositing a tiny drop of water onto tissues exposed during surgery. This water absorbs and extracts molecules from the area being tested and funnels them to an attached mass spectrometry device. Mass spec is commonly used in many labs for dozens of different applications; however, its use in surgery is groundbreaking. In seconds after the molecules are brought up from the patient's tissue, the surgeon knows which tissues are cancerous which are healthy. Knowing how much to cut and which parts to leave is crucial for better outcomes for cancer patients. While it's wise to be conservative and not remove too much material around a tumor, the goal in any cancer surgery is to "Get it all, " and this new device could be a key advance in making that happen
About the Author
English
I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Space & Astronomy
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
NOV 06, 2020
300 Million Planets in the Milky Way May Be Habitable
Researchers have found that there could be at least 300 million habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. This could mea ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
Scientists have identified a burst of cosmic radio waves- intense flashes of radio emission that last just a few millise ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
DEC 29, 2020
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
The fact that the Sun's distant atmosphere is significantly hotter than its surface has been a topic of confusion in ...
APR 12, 2021
Space & Astronomy
5,200 Tons of Space Dust Fall to Earth Each Year
APR 12, 2021
5,200 Tons of Space Dust Fall to Earth Each Year
An international team of scientists has found that each year, 5,200 tons of dust falls from space to Earth. This far out ...
JUL 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
JUL 09, 2021
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
Researchers have developed a "wearable" patch to detect the gaseous substances plants emit when diseased or stressed,
OCT 15, 2021
Health & Medicine
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
OCT 15, 2021
The Art of the Smize: Study Shows Eyes are More Active in Smiling Behind a Mask
Mask wearing has become a part of our everyday lives. Something that we have all adapted to because of this is expressin ...
Loading Comments...