A new invention that’s been developed at the University of Toronto could mean medical professionals will be able to effectively screen patients for cancer and all kinds of infectious diseases within a matter of minutes wherever they happen to be.
The pioneering device, which is really no bigger than an old model of mobile phone, has a small microchip inside it that can determine within around 15 minutes whether a patient has cancer or another infectious disease. It works by simply reading a blood sample or swab that’s placed onto it and then recognising any problems with the cells from the sample. The device is still in the relatively early stages of development, even though Dr. Shana Kelley, one of the scientists from the University of Toronto working on the device, says that it’s taken around a decade to get to this point. There are a number of improvements that are set to be made next, including the addition of a disposable cartridge, which means multiple samples can be easily tested and removed without anything getting contaminated.
The ground-breaking thing about the new device is the fact that patients who would normally have to wait weeks to hear back about tests and biopsies can now have those all important results in a matter of minutes. This means more control for medical professionals, less time wasting, less money spent on testing and administration and most importantly more lives saved in the long run.
Dr. Shana Kelley said:
“Infectious disease is the medical condition where rapid turnaround is maybe most critical and our chip, coupled with portable instrumentation, are good at providing very fast answers.”
The detection device hasn’t yet been given a name, but according to CBC News the scientists in Toronto are expecting it to be in use in a couple of years. For those who are already living with cancer that should have been diagnosed sooner this kind of quick, portable and effective detection device really can’t come soon enough.
[Via CBC News]