A 35-year-old Brazilian scientist, Priscila Kosaka, has developed a new method to detect cancer before initial symptoms appear and without the need for a biopsy.
Kosaka has been working at the Microelectronic Institute of Madrid (Spain) for the past six years, and has developed a less invasive method that uses a nano-sensor that is "10 million times more effective" than traditional tests on patient blood samples.
The sensor has antibodies that can capture cancerous cells when they come into contact with an affected blood sample, and as a result weigh more, Kosaka told Brazil's leading G1 news website. In addition, the process causes the cancerous cells to change color, indicating the presence of a malignant tumor, she added.
The sensor, not expected to be on the market for 10 more years, may miss only two out of 10,000 samples, and can also be used to detect the onset of hepatitis and Alzheimer's, according to G1.
"Currently, there is no method that can detect very low concentrations of molecules," said Kosaka.
Studies still need to be done to improve the nano-sensor so it can identify the type of cancerous cells present in a sample, such as gastrointestinal or pancreatic.
According to the World Health Organization, 21.4 million cases of cancer are detected around the globe each year.