A newly developed “smart needle” may be able to detect and diagnose the blood cancer lymphoma within seconds. This new technology can save patients from invasive biopsy procedure, and a long and anxious time waiting for results.
Normally, I hate needles and am willing to do all the things just to be away from them. But in this case, I may want to give needle a positive comment.
“Smart needle” can speed up cancer diagnosis
At present, if patients are suspected to have lymphoma, the doctor is likely to give them a lymph node biopsy and remove all or part of a lymph node for testing. This can be scaring and require a lot of time. Patients have to wait for results anxiously.
(Credit: University of Exeter)
The “smart needle,” however, can shine a low-power laser into the part of the body being inspected. Since light from the laser is scattered differently depending on whether the tissue is healthy or diseased, doctors may be able to spot concerns within seconds.
"The Raman smart needle can measure the molecular changes associated with disease in tissues and cells at the end of the needle. Provided we can reach a lump or bump of interest with the needle tip, we should be able to assess if it is healthy or not," said project leader Nick Stone.
The researchers have already tested the needle on 68 samples within the laboratory and successfully got correct results. Now, they are planning to start a clinical trial and use the needle in patients for the first time.
If the needle is proved to be accurate in clinical trials for lymphoma, doctors make use it to diagnose many other cancers in the future. Besides, the needle can bring patients better experience by providing quick diagnosis, reducing patient anxiety and canceling unnecessary diagnostic surgery.
To conclude, “smart needle” is truly an exciting project that may revolutionize the current cancer diagnosis and benefit all cancer patients.