A device that plugs into a smart phone lets clinicians diagnose cancer from the bedside.
The nerve-racking wait for cancer-screening results can go on for several days, as clinicians analyze images and biopsies. A new handheld device could significantly shorten that stressful period. Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have engineered a portable device that plugs into a smart phone and reduces the time it takes to detect cancer to just an hour. The device takes a small tissue sample and quickly analyzes it for telltale cancer proteins. When the latest prototype was tested on 50 patients with gastric-related cancer, it detected malignancies with 96 percent accuracy—better than existing laboratory-based tissue-sampling tests.