Device detects several cancer types with single blood test

A low-cost device that could detect the presence of dozens of different cancers using a single blood sample is being developed in the US.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 13, 2014, 15:30 PM IST

Washington: A low-cost device that could detect the presence of dozens of different cancers using a single blood sample is being developed in the US.

A startup in the US, called Miroculus, is building the device dubbed Miriam and they plan to make it so simple that even untrained workers in clinics around the world could use it.

The device detects microRNA in blood to determine whether patients might have cancer.

The molecules can reveal not just whether a person may have cancer, but also the type of cancer that person might have.

The USD 500 device works by having a patient's blood sample pipetted into a specially designed 96-well plate.

Each well has been pre-treated with Miroculus's patented biochemistry to act as a sort of trap for various types of microRNA, most commonly associated with cancer, 'Wired' reported.

After the wells are full, the plate goes into the device. When microRNA is present, the wells start to glow. The stronger the glow, the stronger the presence of microRNA. In an hour, the reaction is complete, and the results get sent to a cloud server.

There, the system reads the luminosity of the various wells, determines which microRNA is present in the sample, and compares that result to a database of information on which microRNA patterns are associated with which cancers.

The team has used the device to successfully detect liver cancer in mice.