Optical Diagnostic Device Can Diagnose Prostate Cancer in Minutes

Optical Diagnostic Device Can Diagnose Prostate Cancer in Minutes
A new prototype device determines whether a prostate tissue sample is benign or malignant ...
Eager attendees of the upcoming COMPAMED trade fair in Düsseldorf this week, Wednesday, November 12 – 14, will have an opportunity to witness a demonstration of a groundbreaking medical device that can assist physicians dealing with prostate cancer in identifying a benign prostate tissue change from a more concerning malignancy.
The company behind this novel diagnostic device is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization, Fraunhofer, who claims it can distinguish between the two types of tissue alterations within a minute-and-a-half via an integrated visual analysis of a biopsy.
Operating the device is simple enough. After obtaining a biopsy of the prostate tissue, clinicians simply place it on a base plate and slide it into the machine before pressing a button to allow the device to study the sample. The use of this optical diagnostic device allows for an accurate and speedy analysis without needing a pair of trained eyes, or a long wait, which can cause undue stress and anxiety on the patient’s part. In less than 2 minutes, the doctor can immediately sit down with the patient to discuss the results and a plan of action.

The device works by directing a laser pulse at the tissue sample, which temporarily excites fluorescent molecules called, “fluorophores”. The emitted fluorescence decreases at a rate that varies between a benign or malignant sample. If the rate is above a set threshold, the sample is positive for cancer cells, and will activate a red light on the device, as opposed to a green light for a benign reading. The prototype measures 21 x 24 x 17 inches and has completed 2 clinical trials, with a third currently ongoing.

This is not the first diagnostic device to be created specifically for prostate cancer, however. Another device was recently created by a group of Finnish researchers, which can accurately distinguish between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia by analyzing urine samples. In 2012, there was a study on a highly-sensitive biosensor that could detect prostate cancer-associated antigens, and further back in 2011, researchers developed a more accurate method for examining serum samples.

The creators are hoping the technology behind this device can be harnessed for other types of cancer. This would require more in depth study on the varying threshold values in other cancers, before they can potentially program a simple drop down menu to allow the user to select the appropriate tissue sample type for analysis.