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S. Korean scientists develop quick cancer detection technology

All Headlines 14:51 May 10, 2010

SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- A group of South Korean scientists said Monday they have developed a technology to quickly and accurately detect various types of cancer growth in humans.

The joint team, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korea University, said the "Lab-on-a-chip" technology can allow doctors to extract a very small sample tissue from the body that can be cross-referenced with up to 20 different tumor markers simultaneously.

At present, doctors must take at least four tumor samples, one at a time, from a patient and check this with four different markers.

This process requires time and raises expense, with problems being cited for accuracy in some cases.

"If the new Lab-on-a-chip technology is used, the overall costs for checking cancer can be reduced to around 0.5 percent compared to present costs, with the time it takes to complete the test being cut to one-tenth," said KAIST bioengineering professor Park Je-kyun, who led the research with Lee Eun-sook, a breast cancer specialist at Korea University's Anam Hospital.

Park said the development is significant because the results were based on tests conducted on 115 cancer patients and not laboratory animals. Accuracy was rated at 98 percent.

The team said the new technology may be further developed so it can help doctors carry out custom-made treatment for certain cancers because they can get a more detailed picture of the tumor.

The technology is in the process of getting seven international and domestic patents. An article on it appeared in the latest issue of PLoS One, an international Internet-based peer-reviewed publication.


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