New Mass Spectrometry Tool To Revolutionise Cancer Diagnosis

In the fight against cancer, it is becoming increasingly important to shorten the diagnosis process, allowing treatment to start earlier. Despite most cancers developing slowly, the healthcare industry is striving to improve diagnostic processes and help shorten patient waiting times. It can also be a stressful period for patients, with many having to wait weeks for scan or test results. However, this could soon change. Scientists at the University of Texas have developed a mass spectrometry ‘pen’ which could reduce the waiting time for results from weeks to seconds.

The pen aims to aid intraoperative diagnosis, allowing surgeons to investigate the tissue profile using a small volume water droplet and high-resolution mass spectrometer. For the test, the pen is placed on the surface of tissue samples, within three seconds the water droplet is transported from the tissue to the mass spectrometer. The mass spec process is able to detect proteins, lipids and metabolites through unique cancerous biomarkers found within the tissue. The development of this diagnostic pen shows innovation in mass spectrometers, and reflects the industry shift towards portable mass spectrometers.

Researchers tested the ability of the MassSpec Pen on both human and mouse tissue, comparing results produced by the tool for both cancerous and healthy tissue samples. Rigorous validation tests used a variety of cancerous cells including those taken from the breast, lung, thyroid and ovary to assess the capabilities of the pen. They found that the pen could correctly distinguish between cancerous cells and non-cancerous cells, such as connective tissue. From this, the surgeons used the pen during surgeries on three mice with breast cancer; the pen was able to guide the surgeons and identify cancerous cells from healthy cells. Understanding the positioning of cancer tissue will help surgeons determine whether cancer is benign or cancerous, affecting future treatment steps.

Developments like the MassSpec Pen could revolutionise the cancer diagnostic process, speeding up diagnostic processes and resulting in better outcome for patients. This mass spectrometry system has been found to have a 96% accuracy rate; it is likely that this technology will soon be used in healthcare programs around the world. Not only does the pen help with diagnostic processes, it can also be used during surgeries and help ensure all cancerous tumours are fully removed. Mass spectrometry is continuing to influence healthcare innovation, helping to identify and correctly treat a range of diseases.  

Mass Spec Technology Solutions Ltd is based in Manchester and offers customers the latest mass spectrometry innovation at affordable prices. Offering a wide range of mass spectrometers, their instruments are installed by skilled engineers and are a great addition to any MS lab. Their Mass Spec service team is committed to the ongoing improvement of services and technology to maximise the performance, throughput and return on investment of your mass spectrometer.

In addition to their range of high-resolution mass spectrometers, Mass Spec also offer a range of laboratory equipment including custom mass spec benches, nitrogen generators and vacuum pump noise reduction units. MSSS also offer a range of refurbished instruments configured to your requirements with various upgrade available if required.

For more information about any of our mass spectrometry instruments or services, contact us here or call on 0161 9989 219.

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