Towards Very Early Disease Detection

Catch cancer very early on - or any one of a range of other age-related, progressive conditions - and much more effective options for dealing with the problem exist, even today. Just like precision targeting, the impact of biotechnologies of very early detection is not to be underestimated. It's not as flashy as cures, but will save just as many lives. Judging by the low cost of entry into the tool development field these days, we'll have bioscanners in every clinic a decade from now: "the simple and inexpensive system, which can be built from off-the-shelf components, can rapidly detect the presence of cancer biomarkers - telltale proteins in body fluids that can signal the presence of malignant tumors - at very low levels. ... With this technology, a future scenario might be that you go to the doctor every year for an annual checkup; he draws about 10 cc's of your blood and runs it through our machine. The machine is equipped to detect the biomarkers for all the common types of cancer. Half an hour later it produces a list of the biomarkers that it has found. And then either a software program or the physician examines this list to determine whether you have any cancers that need treating. ... The researchers are focusing on lung cancer as an initial application because there is currently no adequate way to detect it at an early stage."



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