Ultra Cheap Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer is a terrible blight on humankind with over 14.1 million people being diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and an astounding 8.2 million died from cancer in the same year, but researchers at MIT, led by Sangeeta Bhatia have developed a quick and cheap method of diagnosis.

This is a major breakthrough as 70% of worldwide cancer mortality is in developing countries where people either can’t access or simply don’t have the medical infrastructure available to them. This new innovation works similarly to a pregnancy test, where the patient urinates on a stick or paper that will indicate a presence of cancer in their system.

cancer test2

How does it work?

There is a layer of peptide nanoparticles that interact with tumour specific proteins called matrix metalloproteinase. These proteins are what the cancer cells use to cut themselves free from the proteins that hold the cancer in place. Once a cancer can roam it rapidly spreads in your body via the bloodstream. In tests with mice, the researchers accurately identified colon tumours as well as blood clots, a possible sign of cardiovascular disease. The team is developing a business plan for a start-up to commercialize the technology and perform clinical trials.

This is a fantastic step forward in the battle against cancer but this begs a further question for the developing nations of this world. As Lina Nilssonan an engineer at the University of California, Berkeley points out “There’s something very unfair and troubling if we’re able to tell people that they might have serious diseases and there’s nothing that can be done about that. If we’re pushing out diagnostics, then the ability to treat should also be at the same places.”

You can find a copy of the Scientific Paper below (₃)

Stay Curious – C.Costigan


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