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Soon, credit card-sized device that will help diagnose pancreatic cancer in mins

February 7, 2014

ANI



Washington, Feb 7 (ANI): Researchers are developing a low-cost credit card-sized device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier and faster, by analyzing biopsy in just minutes.

This prototype of a microfluidic device has both curved and straight channels for transporting tissue biopsies. The silicon material is lightweight, flexible and transparent.

Routine screenings for breast, colon and lung cancers have improved treatment and outcomes for patients with these diseases, largely because the cancer can be detected early. But because little is known about how pancreatic cancer behaves, patients often receive a diagnosis when it's already too late.

The prototype by University of Washington scientists and engineers can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.

The new instrumentation would essentially automate and streamline the manual, time-consuming process a pathology lab goes through to diagnose cancer.

The UW's technology would process and analyze whole tissue biopsies for 3-D imaging, which offers a more complete picture of the cellular makeup of a tumor, said Ronnie Das, a UW postdoctoral researcher in bioengineering who is the lead author on a related paper.

The research team is building a thick, credit card-sized, flexible device out of silicon that allows a piece of tissue to pass through tiny channels and undergo a series of steps that replicate what happens on a much larger scale in a pathology lab.

The device harnesses the properties of microfluidics, which allows tissue to move and stop with ease through small channels without needing to apply a lot of external force. It also keeps clinicians from having to handle the tissue; instead, a tissue biopsy taken with a syringe needle could be deposited directly into the device to begin processing.

The study was presented at the SPIE Photonics West conference. (ANI)


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Source: Asian News International


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