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Breast Cancer Patients to Benefit From ‘lab-on-a-chip’ Blood Test

A revolutionary ‘lab-on-a-chip’ blood test has shown potential for detecting breast cancer early. The test can also identify tumors found in other parts of the body.

The EV-CLUE, which is about the size of a glass microscope slide, uses nanotechnology to pump blood into eight miniscule channels that can detect different cancer markers.

The EV-CLUE is very tiny and requires approximately two microliters of blood in order to run a scan. A normal blood droplet has 50 microliters.

To test the lab-on-a-chip, scientists equipped one of the miniscule channels to search for MMP14, an enzyme that is released by tumors. This enzyme is linked to cancer progression and is known to attack healthy body cells in ways that encourage the spread of cancer.

In earlier tests based on MMP14, the device was able to detect metastatic breast cancer early, with 97% and 93% accuracy in the first and second groups of people, respectively. The first group had 30 people, while the second had 70 people.

The scientists concluded that the technology was highly sensitive and can detect early symptoms of cancer metastases. This early detection of metastatic cancer can help reduce deaths in people with breast cancer significantly. Their chances of survival, if their disease is caught early, are very high.

When breast cancer has already progressed outside its primary location, the cancerous cells can hide undetected in various places in the body. But now, with this new technology, hidden tumors can be rooted out easily since the chemicals and matter shed into the bloodstream by tumors can be identified before the cancer advances any further.

Once this liquid biopsy is rigorously tested and proven, it may supplant mammography as the gold standard screening method for breast cancer.

The scientists are still working on ways to validate the technology before it’s finally released in hospitals.

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