Imagine if you could detect cancer within seconds. A group of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin say they’ve developed the technology to do just that. The MasSpec Pen, which is being showcased at SXSW this week, can identify cancerous tissue during surgery in real time.
“The MasSpec Pen is a handheld device coupled to a mass spectrometer that can diagnose cancer during surgery in twenty seconds,” said Marta Sans, graduate research assistant for the Livia Eberlin Research Group.
The pen uses touch to make a diagnosis. It’s placed over tissue. A foot pedal triggers the device and the pen releases water droplets, which extract molecules from the tissue.