Detecting cancer cells in blood has never been easy. The failure to detect the malignant cells in the blood at an early stage of the disease is responsible for a large number of deaths. According to Mehmet Toner of Massachusetts General Hospital, nine out of ten deaths in cancer are due to the metastatic process that causes cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
It was thought for a long time that it is pertinent to develop a process of blood test that would aid early and quick detection of cancer cells in the blood stream. The problem seemed to have been solved recently with the discovery of a highly sensitive microchip capable of detecting even rare traces of cancer cells in the blood stream. This noble feat was accomplished by researchers of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The circulating tumor cells in the blood are rare and at the same time fragile. The current technique used in detecting them involved complicated steps of mixing, spinning and shaking that often destroyed the rare cells making their detection difficult. The new technique involves silicon chips coated with antibodies that were sensitive enough to trap the rare and fragile cancer cells in the blood stream.
With advancement in technology and microchips, detection of cancer will become more prompt and hopefully aid in curing the disease.
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