Hand-Held Scanner Detects Cancer

Hand-Held Scanner Designed to Detect Cancer

LONDON (Reuters) - Italian scientists have developed and are testing a hand-held scanner, similar to metal detectors used in airports, to diagnose cancerous tumors.

In clinical trials of the device called Trimprobe, the scanner pinpointed 93 percent of prostate cancer tumors that were later confirmed by biopsies.

"The development holds out the prospect of a mass-screening technology that is cheap, quick and non-invasive," New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.

The white plastic baton, which was developed by physicist Clarbruno Vedruccio of the University of Bologna and the Italian aerospace firm Galileo Avionica, is passed over the body. There is no need to undress.

The scanner contains an antenna that produces a beam of microwaves that vary in frequency from 400 to 1350 megahertz. According to Vedruccio and his team, tumors generate strong interference at about 400 megahertz.

A computer details the amount of interference at different frequencies.

Carlo Bellorofonte, a urologist who tested the scanner on prostate patients at the San Carlo Borromeo Hospital in Milan, described the results as amazing.

"The scanner seems ideal for mass-screening of cancer because it is rapid, non-invasive and highly sensitive," he told the magazine.

In a separate trial of breast cancer patients at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan the scanner detected breast cancer in 66 percent of cases.

Further tests are being conducted on patients with lung, stomach, liver and colorectal cancer.

"However, the results of the early trials have yet to appear in a peer-reviewed medical journal and must be regarded with caution until then," the magazine added.

Thanks to Reuters Health on Yahoo.com Wed Jun 11, 2:00 PM ET

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