Israeli researchers have developed a life-saving method to detect cancer cells in the abdominal cavity within minutes, Tel Aviv University (TAU) in central Israel said on Thursday.
With the new method, the team could detect in real-time, following a tumour removal surgery in the abdominal cavity, whether all cancer cells were removed.
This is done by an interdisciplinary combination of medicine, engineering, and computer science.
The new application reduces the waiting time for lab results of cancer cell detection tests, which takes several weeks now.
The researchers explained that often, there are undetected cancer cells in tumour removal surgeries.
Those cells can spread to various body parts and the patient must undergo chemotherapy.
The new tool is based on a genetic sequencing device called MinION, which allows doctors and patients to receive results quickly.
While the patients undergo a tumour removal surgery, the researchers take a blood and an abdominal cavity fluid sample.
The sample is inserted into the device, which, using a unique algorithm developed by the researchers, can tell whether the sample is more like that of a healthy person or a cancer patient.
According to TAU, the innovative technology is already implemented in a preliminary pilot trial at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
The researchers estimate that it will be possible to expand this technology and detect cancer cells with a simple blood test in everyday life which will not necessarily be conducted during surgery.