Washington: In a breakthrough, scientistshave developed a toothbrush-like instrument that could detectoral cancer just in 15 minutes with a gentle touch.
"One of the key discoveries in this paper is to showthat the miniaturised, noninvasive approach produces about thesame result as the pathologists do," said lead researcher JohnMcDevitt. Oral cancer afflicts more than 300,000 people a year andthe five-year survival rate is 60 per cent, but if cancer isdetected early, that rate rises to 90 per cent, the journalCancer Prevention Research reported. McDevitt and his team are working to create aninexpensive chip that can differentiate premalignancies fromthe 95 per cent of lesions that will not become cancerous. "This area of diagnostics and testing has been terriblychallenging for the scientific and clinical community,"McDevitt said, adding "Part of the problem is that there areno good tools currently available that work in a reliableway." He said patients with suspicious lesions, usuallydiscovered by dentists or oral surgeons, end up gettingscalpel or punch biopsies as often as every six months. "People trained in this area don`t have any troublefinding lesions. The issue is the next step -- taking a chunkof someone`s cheek. The heart of this paper is developing amore humane and less painful way to do that diagnosis, and ourtechnique has shown remarkable success in early trials,"McDevitt said. PTI
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