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Small device is giant leap for cancer treatment

Posted on Nov 02, 04:44PM | IANS

A pathbreaking device will do away with invasive tests and long waits at clinics in diagnosing all kinds of cancers. In a mere 20 minutes, the device could also tell specialists which drug to prescribe for the cancer.

The world's first tumour profiler is being developed by QuantuMDx, in the universities of Newcastle and Sheffield. It will be used by the National Health Service of the UK within three years.

Company representatives said the device can potentially prolong the lives of the 12 million newly diagnosed cancer victims worldwide.

It will help surgeons remove most, if not all of the tumour, and allow cancer specialists to prescribe the correct treatment.

The device is relying on advanced nanotechnology, analysing microscopic amounts of tissue to work out the type of cancer, its genetic make-up and how far it has developed, the Daily Mail reports.

Sir John Burn, professor at the Newcastle University and medical director of QuantuMDx, says: "We have a world leading position to deliver complex DNA tumour testing to the routine pathology lab or even to the operating theatre."

"A low-cost device requiring no technical expertise will extract, amplify and analyse tumour DNA to make sure the patient gets the right treatment first time and without delay," he adds.

QuantuMDx chief executive Elaine Warburton said: "Currently tumour samples are sent away to a centralised sequencing laboratory, which can take several weeks to turnaround results, usually at a very high price which is not routinely affordable to many economies."

"As far as we are aware, QuantuMDx's current underlying technologies, which can break up a sample and extract the DNA in under five minutes, represents a first in the world for complex molecular diagnostics," Warburton said.