This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

October 28, 2015

Smartphone Device to Diagnose Cancer

The researchers at Mass General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts have done it again. This time they have developed a smartphone device to diagnose cancer. By providing an immediate diagnosis, the device will reduce patients' anxiety, while improving access to care. While this breakthrough was created for patients in remote areas, it will be valuable for all patients, no matter where they live.

Almost instant diagnosis
Imagine if your doctor could take some of your cells, slide them into a small compartment attached to a smartphone and immediately tell you if you had cancer---in just an hour. No more waiting hours or days for lab results. And your doctor could discuss the diagnosis and your treatment options on the spot.

New technology uses antibodies to identify cancer
Created by a team at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, the device is called the D3 system---for digital diffraction diagnosis. The D3 system processes blood or tissue by sending tiny antibodies to find cancer-related molecules. When these special antibodies detect cancer, they shine. According to Ralph Weissleder, MD, PhD, director of the Center, "The smartphone picks up the shining of the antibodies when the photo is snapped. And researchers can use this signal to diagnosis a patient with cancer".

The process is surprisingly simple
D3 is convenient, efficient and easy to use. A healthcare professional collects cells from the patient: from a blood sample, a fine needle biopsy, or a Pap smear. Then using the same smartphone camera we use to take family photos, the system records data on over 1 million cells from any blood or tissue sample in a single image. To put this innovation into perspective, that's more power than a traditional microscope.

More smartphone-based medical breakthroughs on the way
Though originally created for remote corners of the globe, like Joel Selanikio's Magpi*, a revolutionary mobile data application, this breakthrough will benefit many patients all over the world. D3 even has the potential to help identify and track outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV and even avian flu. We have only begun to see the tremendous capability of this mobile technology.

* Magpi enables anyone with access to mobile technology to quickly and easily collect information.


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