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Scientists annouce world's most sensitive cancer test

1st April 2013


Speaking at the Institute of Physics conference Physics 2005 in the UK recently today, scientists revealled a new test for cancer, more sensitive than any existing technique and capable of predicting for the first time whether a tumour has spread.

Unlike existing techniques which rely on expert visual assessment or unreliable biochemical measurements, the aoptical stretcher' tests the physical strength of each cell and can give a diagnosis using as few as 50 cells, allowing doctors to test for cancer where traditional biopsies are dangerous or even impossible.

Professor Josef Käs and Dr Jochen Guck from the University of Leipzig have been developing the new procedure for several years and today described how the system is being tested, both to screen for oral cancers and in the astaging' of breast cancer tumours.

Käs and Guck's machine uses a powerful beam of infrared laser light to stretch and measure cells one by one. His optical stretcher differs from an existing tool known as optical tweezers in which the light is focused to a sharp point to grab hold of a cell. In contrast, the optical stretcher doesn't use focused light. This allows laser beams strong enough to detect stretching to be used without killing the cell.

More importantly, the optical stretcher can yield crucial information on the spread of cancer.

For more information, visit www.softmatterphysics.com





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