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The pen works by releasing a tiny droplet of water into the tissue, which soaks up chemicals inside the cells. it is then sucked back and analysis by a device called mass spectrometer, which can detect thousands of molecules before a doctor can give results on computer screen.
Researchers at the University of Texas said the device can give surgeons exact information about which tissue to cut or preserve, which tends to improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer reoccurring.
The team conducted a test and found that the tool took just 10 seconds to provide a diagnosis and was more than 96 per cent accurate.
Assistant professor of chemistry- Livia Schiavinato Eberlin who designed the study, said: “If you talk to cancer patients after surgery, one of the first things many will say is ‘I hope the surgeon got all the cancer out’.
And added that ”It’s just heartbreaking when that’s not the case. But our technology could vastly improve the odds that surgeons really do remove every last trace of cancer during surgery.”
The current method for establishing the boundary between cancer and normal tissues, called frozen section analysis, can be slow and unreliable.
tumours could regrow if the cancerous tissue is not well removed.
”This technology can do all three. It allows us to be much more precise in what tissue we remove and what we leave behind.”
The researchers hopes to start testing the new device during oncology surgeries next year