Researchers are developing and testing a wearable device that can detect the presence of cancer cells in the bloodstream with greater accuracy.
“Nobody wants to have a biopsy,” says Dr. Daniel Hayes, the Stuart B. Padnos, Professor of Breast Cancer Research at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.
Biopsies are invasive and can be uncomfortable, yet they are currently the most accurate method of determining whether or not a person has cancer.
But, Dr. Hayes suggests, “If we could get enough cancer cells from the blood, we could use them to learn about the tumor biology and direct care for the patients.”
Dr. Hayes and his team have recently developed a wearable device that can “filter” circulating blood for cancer cells that — if it passes all the tests — could replace liquid biopsies where healthcare professionals take blood or urine samples from individuals to look for markers of cancer.
Cancer tumors release cells into the blood, which means that, in theory at least, by taking a blood sample and analyzing it, a specialist should be able to detect the presence of cancer.
However, this is easier said than done, since, even in people who have malign tumors, blood samples may not reveal much, or anything at all, as cancer cells their tumors release into the blood circulate quickly, and may not show up in a single blood sample.
Spurred by this complication, Dr. Hayes and his University of Michigan colleagues have come up with a device that can do all the work of liquid biopsy testing but by actually “scanning” the bloodstream for cancer cells.
|Read on: A new wearable device may detect cancer with more precision|