MasSpec Pen Accurately Detects Cancer Cells During Surgery in Seconds

MasSpec Pen Accurately Detects Cancer Cells During Surgery in Seconds
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin developed an automated handheld device that accurately identifies cancerous tissue in as little as 10 seconds. The device, called MasSpec Pen, is designed to guide doctors during surgery by telling them which tissues to remove. That could improve the excision of cancer and reduce the chances of recurrence. This new tool's effectiveness was reported in the study, “Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system,” published in Science Translational Medicine. “If you talk to cancer patients after surgery, one of the first things many will say is, ‘I hope the surgeon got all the cancer out,'” Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, assistant professor of chemistry at UT Austin and lead author of the study, said in a university news release. “It’s just heartbreaking when that’s not the case. But our technology could vastly improve the odds that surgeons really do remove every last trace of cancer during surgery.” Currently, cancer diagnosis relies on tissue analysis and identification of cancer biomarkers, measures that are laborious and time-consuming, and at times, inaccurate. During surgery, it may take longer than 30 minutes for a pathologist to prepare and analyze a sample for signs of cancer. This can have major implications because a patient is at risk of infection and anesthesia must be prolonge
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