$200 Handheld Scanner Detects Cancer in Just One Hour

You can just imagine how agonizing the wait for cancer scan results must be. Scientists have shortened the time dramatically with this hugely-accurate bedside-scanner, which requires just a needle-full of tissue sample—and an iPhone app to read the results on.

The scientists, from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed the nuclear magnetic resonance scanner which uses antibodies and magnetic particles to identify cancerous cells. So far, the results have been impressively accurate at 96 per cent.

The usual method of diagnosing cancer only has an 84 per cent accuracy rate, which is mindbogglingly scary. Those poor people who get misdiagnosed—either with positive or negative readings! No-one can imagine the pain they must go through.

But suddenly, we're entering a period where cancer can be detected using a few components and an iPhone. An iPhone, which didn't even exist five years ago. Of course, in an ideal world cancer wouldn't exist—but if we can hammer the cost down and make this technology readily available to everyone, regular home-tests would save a lot of heartache for everyone involved.

We've already seen the iPhone used in the medical world, both professionally and in the home, for diabetes-sufferers. Could we get to the point where there's literally an app (and device) for identifying all manner of diseases? It could be a hypochondriac's dream—and keep doctors out of business.

I shouldn't have to spell out how life-changing this new device is, with 25 per cent of deaths in the US being attributed to cancer each year. If we can clamp down on the number of false readings, and do it faster and cheaper than ever before, these scientists are taking us one step closer to the world we all deserve to live in: a cancer-free one. [STM via PhysOrg and Bloomberg]