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Nano-devices hold promise for early-stage cancer detection

zed systems for fluid filtration, DNA extraction, cell processing, imaging, computing, wireless communications, and laser and radiation detection systems.

Research currently underway includes:

  • a miniature (pill-sized) device that will provide early detection of abnormal cells inside the body;
  • an imaging and communication system for non-invasive screening in target organs systems such as the breast, pancreas and gastrointestinal tract and the relaying of information to an external receiver;
  • developing ingestible and insertable non-invasive imagers for routine screening of pancreatic and gastrointestinal tumors;
  • sensors that can detect food- and water-borne pathogens.

"The ultimate goal is to develop reliable and inexpensive detection and imaging products that can be used in a doctor’s office or possibly even at home as part of a regular exam," said Steve Hranilovic, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at McMaster. "This would address wait-time and cost issues associated with MRI, CT and other imaging facilities. It would also reduce the misdiagnosis and uncertainty associated with self-examinations."

Research has shown that early detection of cancer improves cure and survival rates dramatically. For example, the five-year survival rate of breast cancer patients when a tumor is detected at less than two centimeters in size is 98 per cent. It is only 26 per cent when the tumor is larger than five centimeters. For colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death, at least 90 per cent of cases can be cured with proper screening and surveillance.

Engineering faculty at McMaster are working closely with their colleagues in health sciences on this research, as well as with researchers at the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo, and Calgary, McGill University and the National Research Council.

"This initiative is possible because engineers are collaborati
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Source:McMaster University


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