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Could new technology speed up cancer diagnosis without surgery?

A new study aims to develop a technology that can detect and locate cancer in a patient’s body without them having to undergo surgery.

To determine if and where the disease has spread, doctors often carry out biopsies, which involve surgically removing a small amount of tissue from an area where a tumour may be present.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth are developing tiny molecular trackers that can be injected into a patient to track and locate different types of cancer and an instrument that can be used to detect the signal of these trackers from outside of the body.

Dr Dey said:

“When I pursued research, I wanted my work to be useful for society. We have seen quite a few deaths in our extended family as a result of cancer, which was the initial motivation. It’s exciting and satisfying to work on something that could help speed up diagnosis and treatment. This would imply that less harsher treatments would be effective, and eventually we could hope that cancer could be kicked out from the list of top 10 causes of death.”

“My overall aim with this project is to build a technology which will be able to detect cancer at an early stage. And when I say early stage, I mean when the symptoms have not yet developed but a doctor wants to screen an individual who may be at risk.”

The project is funded through a CAMS Fellowships award won by project lead, Dr Priyanka Dey who was one of only five winners in the UK. 

Fellowships offer grants worth up to £30,000 to deliver research and innovation by developing novel technologies that support current and future industrial needs in analytical and bioanalytical sciences.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash