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Novel Tool To Help In Early Detection And Treatment Of Cancer

Update Date: Feb 16, 2016 10:44 AM EST

The chances of survival for cancer patients is always linked with early detection. Samir Iqbal, an electrical engineer, and his team, from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), have created an amazing, novel cancer cell detection method. Their tool monitors the behavior of cells in real time with nanotextured walls, just like human body tissue layers.

After examining the human layers of tissue, the team believed that by developing a tool using this method and mimicking this layering, it would help in better diagnoses of cancers at the cellular level.

"The answer was in creating a nanotextured wall that fools blood samples into thinking its actual tissue," Iqbal said in a press release. "We used inherent properties of the cell walls to create a diagnostic tool. The cancer cells behave differently as they come into contact with the nanotextured walls. They dance."

The new tool would help doctors to locate these "dancing cells" so that they can detect and begin to treat cancers early.

"Discovering the cancer earlier, before it metastasizes, is essential to surviving cancer," Iqbal said. "Our device has the potential to do that."

Khosrow Behbehani, dean of UTA's College of Engineering, finds the research "groundbreaking".

"Dr. Iqbal and his colleagues are bringing engineering innovation to meet the challenge of early cancer detection," Behbehani said. "The research aligns with UTA's Strategic Plan, particularly the focus on Health and the Human Condition. Dr. Iqbal's device could greatly improve cancer survival rates, which is good news for humanity. There are very few people around the world whose lives have not been touched by this dreadful disease."

The study was published in the Sept. 16 issue of Scientific Reports.

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