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$200 Portable Device Can Detect Cancer at Home?

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have built a $200 portable little device that can be connected to smart phones and used to detect whether a patient’s cancer is malignant and likely to spread.

In a paper released yesterday courtesy of the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers described a new piece of technology they built for a 50-person clinical test. The subjects utilized for this study had abnormal stomach tissue biopsied.

After looking at four biomarkers in the samples, or more specifically the combination of the biomarkers in the sample, the researchers were able to accurately predict whether 48 of the patients had benign or malignant cancers.

As it stands, it’s still too early to tell whether this new device can stand the test of heavy clinical testing.

 “At the end of the day there are a lot of good technologies out there that are very promising on the bench side — the key is how to translate it into the clinic,’’ said Dr. Cesar Castro, an oncologist at Mass. General and one of the authors of the paper.

The researchers involved found that they could predict the malignancy of the cancer with 96 percent accuracy. Current methods of conducting such tests here an 84 percent accuracy rate.

Given the widespread usage of smart phones, Castro believes that this technology may help detect problems with cancer in a timelier, more effective fashion.

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