A "smart needle" has been developed by researchers in the UK who can speed up cancer detection and diagnostic times.
Researchers believe that the technique can be particularly useful in diagnosing lymphomas, which reduces the patient's anxiety while waiting for their results.
Currently, people with suspected lymphoma often have to provide a sample of cells, followed by a biopsy of the node to be performed for a complete diagnosis, a process that can be time-consuming.
The new device uses a technique called Raman spectroscopy to shine a low-power laser into the part of the body being inspected, with the potential to detect concern within seconds, says University of Exeter researchers.
They say that light from the laser is diffused in different ways depending on whether the tissue is healthy or diseased, giving doctors a fingerprint for cancer.
ues and cells at the end of the needle, "said Professor Nick Stone, project manager, of the University of Exeter.
" Provided we can reach a lump or interest with the needle tip, we should be able to judge whether it is healthy or not. "
Researchers want to start a clinical trial using the device on patients for the first time, after testing it on 68 patient sample tissue tests in the laboratory.
University of Bristol & # 39; s Dr. John Day, who built the first prototypes, said: "If our probe succeeds in clinical trials on lymphoma, it opens the door to apply it to many other cancers in the body."
Charlie Hall, a head and neck consultant at Gloucestershire Hospital's NHS Foundation Trust ̵
"Early and accurate diagnosis is the key to better cancer treatment outcomes and will also have significant economic benefits for the wider NHS. "