Magnets can Spot Cancer

Tiny magnetic beads coated in sugar could help doctors to check if a cancer has spread. Once injected into the patient, the beads can be detected using a handheld magnetic wand — similar to a metal detector — and are used to identify the lymph nodes nearest to the cancer.

The lymph nodes form part of the lymphatic system, which drains fluid from tissues all over the body back into the bloodstream. If cancerous cells get into this system, the disease can then spread to other parts of the body.

The key to determining if cancer has spread is identifying the sentinel node — the lymph node that is nearest the tumour.

Tiny magnetic beads coated in sugar could help doctors to check if a cancer has spread
Tiny magnetic beads coated in sugar could help doctors to check if a cancer has spread

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Cancer Drug Kills Every Kind of Tumor

 

Stanford University scientists have discovered a single drug that has killed or shrunk every kind of cancer tumor it has been used against — a new anti-cancer weapon that some have described as a kind of medical Holy Grail.
 
The drug blocks a protein produced in large amounts by cancer cells — called CD47 — that keeps the body’s immune system from fighting tumors. By shutting down the CD47 production, the new antibody drug effectively leaves cancer cells vulnerable to the body’s own natural defense mechanisms.

Tests of the drug found that it destroyed several kinds of human cancer cells transplanted into mice — including breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors — by prompting the rodents’ immune systems to kill the cancer cells.Continue Reading

 

New Cancer Detector

A groundbreaking device that can diagnose  cancer in just 20 minutes is being developed by British scientists.

The world’s first tumor profiler, as it is known, will allow doctors, nurses and pharmacists to quickly identify all known types of cancer while the patient waits.

It is hoped the device, which will also gauge the correct drug to prescribe cancer sufferers, will be used within the next three years.

A British company has developed a device that can diagnose cancer in just 20 minutes - and decide the best drug for treatment

The device has been invented as part of a partnership between private firm QuantuMDx, Newcastle University and Sheffield University.

Scientists say the Q-Cancer device will have a dramatic impact on the rapid and accurate diagnosis of cancer.

Company officials said the device has the potential to prolong the lives of the 12 million newly diagnosed cancer sufferers around the world.

It will enable surgeons to immediately remove most, if not all of the tumor, and allow cancer specialists to prescribe the correct treatment regime according to the type of cancer developed.

The device makes use of advanced nanotechnology, analyzing submicroscopic amounts of tissue to work out the type of cancer, its genetic make-up and how far it has developed.

Professor John Burn (left), a renowned geneticist, and Jonathan O'Halloran, both of QuantuMDx, the company developing the device
Professor John Burn (left), a renowned geneticist, and Jonathan O’Halloran, both of QuantuMDx, the company developing the device

Professor Sir John Burn, the Newcastle University academic who is also medical director of QuantuMDx, said: ‘We have a world leading position to deliver complex DNA tumor testing to the routine pathology lab or even to the operating theatre.

‘A low-cost device requiring no technical expertise will extract, amplify and analyze tumor DNA to make sure the patient gets the right treatment first time and without delay.’

Chief executive Elaine Warburton said:  ‘Currently tumor samples are sent away to a centralized sequencing laboratory, which can take several weeks to turnaround results, usually at a very high price which is not routinely affordable to many.

‘As far as we are aware, QuantuMDx’s current underlying technologies, which can break up a sample and extract the DNA in under five minutes represents a world first for complex molecular diagnostics.

Dr Emma Smith, Cancer Research UK’s senior  science information officer, said: ‘Using the latest technology to analyze tumors quickly and cheaply could make a real difference to cancer patients and we will watch these developments with interest. It will need thorough testing to show it meets the standards required  for routine use.’

Attribution: Anna Hodgekiss