What is cancer detection?
Cancer detection is a multi-stage process. Often times, the patient will go to the doctor for some symptom or another. Sometimes cancer is discovered by chance or through screening tests. The final diagnosis of cancer is based on the opinion of a pathologist.
Cancer detection often involves radiological imaging. The images are also used to check the spread of cancer and the progress of treatment, and to monitor cancer.
Oncological images are increasingly varied and accurate. The different imaging techniques aim to find the most suitable treatment option for each patient. Imaging techniques are frequently used in combination to obtain sufficient information.
The most common imaging process used for cancer detection and monitor its feast is computed tomography (CT), which provides cross-sectional computer images. CT scans are done using X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a procedure that uses powerful magnetic fields. This does not generate ionizing radiation. Situations in which MRI is used include the examination of cancer or sarcoma in the head and neck region.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) is founded on the faster metabolic rate of cancer cells compared to normal cells. With PET images, the patient receives a radioactive tracer that is detected by scintigraphy. PET images can also be combined with CT.
- Ultrasound examination is helpful in examining the cervix, pancreas, liver, and kidneys. Needle biopsies can also be taken in ultrasound exams.
- Endoscopic examinations are usually to inspect the gastrointestinal tract, bronchi, cervix, prostate, bladder, or head, and neck region.
- In mammography, an X-ray image is used to examine breast tumors. Mammography is also used in the detection of breast cancer.
- In isotopic diagnosis, a radioactive tracer is introduced into the patient’s body. The marker goes to the organ to be examined, and various imaging methods can be used to determine if cancer has spread. Isotopic diagnostics can be used to identify prevalent cancers such as breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
New tests and devices for early cancer detection
Simple blood draw
At Thrive, which launched in April 2019 with $ 110 million in venture capital funding, the company is developing and commercializing a liquid biopsy test based on technology developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In just six months, the company’s staff had grown from 25 to 50 and added a location in Cambridge, MA.
Called Cancer SEEK, the test looks at simple blood draw not for cancer cells themselves, but cancer business cards, specifically genetic mutations in 61 regions of 16 genes, as well as eight additional protein biomarkers that serve to identify the early stages of eight commons. cancers.
The doctor explained: “Cancers in the earliest stages can shed minuscule amounts of material into plasma, so it is very important to have a high-precision method to interrogate the DNA bases that we isolate, and to do that, we use a combination of high-throughput sequencing technology, as well as an error correction technology, which was also industrialized at Johns Hopkins, to accurately identify rare variants”. Additionally, Cancer SEEK analyzes white blood cells as a way to identify mutations that actually arise from benign neoplasms rather than cancer. “This combination of bioinformatics and wet laboratory methods maximizes exactness in DNA sequencing,” he said.
Thrive is currently completing a 10,000-patient study of Cancer SEEK, and the company hopes to use the results to help inform the design of future studies it will use to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Management (FDA). for the test, according to Kinder.
Two research groups at the University of Michigan (U-M) are also emerging cancer detection technologies, but in the form of two very different devices to trick tumor cells as they travel through the bloodstream.
One of the devices is an implanted scaffold that serves as a decoy at the metastatic site for breast cancer cells that would otherwise spread to their favorite solid organ targets, namely the lung, liver, bone, and brain, according to Lonnie. Shea, Ph.D., UM William and Valerie Hall Chair in Biomedical Engineering. Shea’s research counterpart is Jacqueline Jeruss, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery at U-M, and associate professor of biomedical engineering.
External device that goes big
Another group at U-M is taking a different tack and building a portable device designed to test a large volume of a patient’s blood. What really motivated this project is that we know that CTCs are the seed of metastases and we find them even in early-stage cancer patients, so we didn’t want to lose any of these important cells,” said lead researcher Sunitha Nagrath. Ph.D., associate professor of chemical engineering and part of the Rogel Cancer Center at UM.
For this project, the researchers developed a system that continuously routes blood out of a vein through a catheter, sends it to a small detection device that collects any CTCs, and then directs the CTC-free blood through another catheter and back to the vein. When designing the system, they had to move blood quickly and smoothly through the cancer detection device, so they put their expertise in microfluidic systems to work and came up with a blood pump to maintain a sufficient flow rate and a separate pump to continuously infuse heparin that prevents the formation of clots. They then added a highly sensitive CTC capture chip, which she and other U-M researchers had before developed, that uses antibodies to filter out CTCs.
Cancer detection device – breath cancer detection
Sniff Phone, the cancer detection device
Sniff Phone is a small sensor developed as a cancer detection device that can be linked to a smartphone.
In practice, the user grips the cancer detection device in front of their mouth and respires over the sensor to give a breath sample. This cancer test measures limited volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using highly sensitive chemical sensors based on nanotechnology.
The measurements are then sent via Bluetooth using a smartphone to a dedicated cloud platform, where they are analyzed by the appropriate medical staff.
The Sniff Phone project is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Program for research, technological development, and demonstration. The Sniff Phone was developed by a consortium of nine partners from six countries. The Sniff Phone Nanosensors were developed in Israel, the Cellix micropump in Ireland, the Microfluidic Chip Shop fluids in Germany, and the VTT cloud platform in Finland.
The benefits of detecting cancer from the breath
The new cancer detection device has many compensations over traditional methods: the device is contented and painless to use. In addition, it provides a simple, fast, and cost-effective alternative for the detection of gastric cancers.
The project has developed and validated Sniff Phone prototypes through, for example, clinical studies. The next step in the project is to find funders for this type of novel cancer screening method. It is planned that the marketing of the device will take place through a spin-off company.
VTT’s role in the project was the implementation of the platform to transfer data from the smartphone to cloud-based storage space. VTT has also developed testing tools and methods to recognize high-risk patients.
In addition, VTT created a mobile application that guides the user in taking a breath sample and provides a preliminary analysis of the sample. Additionally, a medical analysis tool has been developed to display the results of breath sample analysis.
A new device can detect cancer with just a drop of blood
Some cancers, such as ovarian cancer, tend to go undetected until they are too advanced for treatment to be effective. Now an innovative tool can detect cancer easily, quickly, and in minuscule amounts of blood.
In an attempt to find a simple and effective way to identify difficult-to-diagnose cancers, researchers at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence and the KU Cancer Center and KU Medical Center in Kansas City have developed an ultra-sensitive cancer detection system. device.
The device dubbed a “3-D nanopattern microfluidic chip,” could successfully detect cancer markers in the tiniest drop of blood or in a component of blood called plasma.
Lead author Yong Zeng, an associate professor of chemistry at KU, and his team describe how the new tool works in a paper published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
This device, the scientists explain, identifies and diagnoses cancer by “filtering” the exosomes, which are small vesicles produced by some eukaryotic cells.
In the case of cancer cells, exosomes contain biological information that can direct the growth and spread of the tumor.