European scientists have just developed a tiny device that could be a major breakthrough in the early detection of some cancers .
This subcutaneous patch monitors the level of calcium in the blood of the wearer. If this rate increases, which is sometimes a harbinger of cancer, the implant produces melanin and an artificial “mole” appears on the skin to prevent the wearer.
To quickly screen four common tumors
Swiss researchers ETH Zurich University believe that the device can thus quickly detect four common tumors: those of the prostate, lung , colon and breast. The device, which should be available in a decade, could save many lives.
Martin Fussenegger, a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich, is enthusiastic: “Nowadays, people usually go to the doctor only when the tumor starts to cause problems. Unfortunately, at that moment, it is often too late. Early detection significantly increases the chances of survival.
First encouraging tests
One of the objectives of the patch is therefore to encourage patients to consult a specialist at the earliest to increase the chances of recovery. “The mole does not mean that the person is likely to die soon,” relativized scientists who also planned a version of the patch “invisible” for people who fear to become obsessed with the search for the mole artificial. The signal would then be visible only to the doctor, passing the implant under a red light.
The device has so far been tested only on human cell cultures or on animals but the results are encouraging. Researchers are now considering using it in other medical fields, such as hormonal disorders.