NEW CANCER TEST:
OPTICAL STRETCHER TEST
Professor Josef Käs and Dr Jochen Guck at The University
of Leipzig are developing a new test for cancer. It is the first
time to use a physical characteristic of each cell ' its
stretchiness or elasticity'  instead of its biological make-up, to
decide whether or not it's cancerous. Cancer cells
de-differentiate and loss the rigid cytoskeleton which holds
them in shape. Consequently, they are more elastic or
'stretchable' than normal cells. To a certain extent, this method
can also give the stage of the cancer from the elasticity of the
cells. The softer the cancer cells, the more likely they are
traveling to other locations in the body- metastases.
Traditionally, doctors need to check nearby lymph nodes for
cancer cells to determine if metastases have occurred or not.
Besides, this method needs only 50 tumor cells in a sample
for the optical stretcher to diagnose cancer, compared to
traditional methods which require 10,000 to 100,000 cells.
Thus, their method is much sensitive than current methods
available. Finally, their method can test as many as 3,600
cells per minute, it can be used in the clinical diagnosis of
cancer.

References
Institute of Physics conference Physics 2005 in Warwick, April 12, 2005.
Scientists announce world's most sensitive cancer test, Innovations
Report.com, April 12, 2005
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