Researchers at Brock and McMaster universities have developed a prototype for a tool which will allow patients to use a blood sample to test for the presence of cancer biomarkers. This technology has specifically been designed to assess the levels of prostate-specific antigens (“PSA”), but it can be tweaked to test for other cancers as well.
According to the researchers, the device operates in just the same way that hand-held glucose monitors work. A patient just mixes a tiny drop of blood in a vial which contains a reactive fluid, and then a sample from this mixture is placed on a strip which is inserted into the portable device for analysis.
In a couple of minutes, the reader would provide results showing the extent to which the cancer antigens are present in the blood sample tested.
Leyla Solemani, one of the lead researchers on this project based at McMaster’s University and also the chair of Miniaturized Biomedical Devices in Canada, stated that their work was a big step towards the delivery of personalized medical care to patients, in exactly the same way as what biomed companies like CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are attempting to deliver customized medical care around the world.
The prototype takes diagnostics and monitoring away from hospital settings and brings it into the homes of patients. This makes cancer prognosis and diagnosis more accessible, especially for populations that aren’t close to the healthcare centers with the needed testing facilities.
The developers say that their device will need to undergo broader tests before the necessary regulatory approvals can be secured to pave the way for the commercial production and widespread use of the diagnostic tool.
However, the research team is optimistic that their device will pass all the regulatory requirements and it will be used to save lives and revolutionize clinical outcomes for the patients who are most in need of testing services.
The ability to gather real-time data about the progress of a cancer patient would help doctors and other allied professionals to design appropriate treatment protocols while making timely adjustments to those treatment plans as the condition of the patient evolves. This would be preferable to responding long after the condition of the patient has changed and the change is discovered when the patient comes to a health facility for their scheduled follow-up sessions. The era of lab-based tests could soon come to an end if such hand-held testing kits become widely available.
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