A handheld device that detects proteins produced by tumor cells could give doctors a fast, accurate way to diagnose and monitor cancer. Tumor-marker testing usually requires pea-size tissue samples and can take days in a laboratory to yield results. The new detector, by contrast, requires a tiny speck of tissue, takes less than an hour to process samples, and could be used in a doctor’s office instead of a hospital.
The device, which was developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School, attaches to a smartphone, providing a user-friendly interface for doctors to view results. In tests on patient tissue samples, the researchers accurately detected cancer 96 percent of the time. They reported the results last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Photo: C. Min/H. Lee/R. Weissleder/Harvard Medical School