Patients may soon screen for cancer at home

Patients may soon screen for cancer at home

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Researchers in Canada have developed a handheld medical device prototype that can screen for prostate cancer.
  • Like a regular test, the device also uses a blood sample to detect biomarkers of cancer that could be present.
  • The device is still a prototype, but it may soon allow for adjustments so it can detect biomarkers for other cancers and chronic diseases.

Researchers from McMaster and Brock in Ontario, Canada, are developing a handheld device that can enable them to monitor their blood for biomarkers of prostate cancer from the comfort of their own homes.

It’s quite similar to monitors that diabetic patients use to monitor the levels of sugar in their blood.

With a regular blood test, doctors search for chemicals in the body that could indicate normal or abnormal conditions in a blood sample. These specific biomarkers could indicate the presence of cancer.

For prostate cancer, a chemical called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is what doctors look for. Abnormally high levels of this antigen mean that prostate cancer could be developing in the patient’s body. If blood samples are taken and tested in the early stages, it could provide patients with a chance to treat the cancer earlier and result in better outcomes.

The McMaster and Brock device allows users to mix a drop of their blood into a vial of reactive liquid prepared by the lab. That mixture is then placed onto a strip and read by the device. It would take just a few minutes for the device to measure the presence of PSA.

Leyla Soleymani, a biochemical engineer at McMaster and leader of the team that developed the device hardware, said that the device is “another step toward truly personalized medicine” and “away from centralized, lab-based equipment for this kind of testing.” 

Researchers say that this technology can be adapted to measure other biomarkers of other forms of cancer and perhaps, in the future, other chronic diseases.

The device is definitely a step toward encouraging more active and home-based health monitoring.

 

Source: Good News Network

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