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Breakthrough in Early Cancer Detection – Science Nation

Breakthrough in Early Cancer Detection – Science Nation


MELISSA HERSH CHARTRAND: (On TV newscast)
In order to vote in the November 8th election… MILES O’BRIEN: For TV correspondent Melissa
Chartrand, what started as some abdominal pain led to a hysterectomy three years ago. MELISSA HERSH CHARTRAND: I went in for a
hysterectomy. But when I woke up they said, you have ovarian cancer.
Let’s just say I was in total shock. MILES O’BRIEN: Shock that was followed by
grueling chemotherapy. With few early symptoms, ovarian cancer can be hard to detect. VADIM BACKMAN: Early detection is absolutely
not only key, but probably the only way for us to win the war against cancer. MILES O’BRIEN: With support from the National
Science Foundation, biomedical engineer, Vadim Backman, is shedding a little light on how to
make early cancer detection cheaper, more accurate, and less invasive. VADIM BACKMAN: We’re developing new optics
technologies to learn about tissue structure and composition, and we’re applying these technologies
for early cancer screening. MILES O’BRIEN: They use a new type of
microscopy, part of a field called biophotonics. Backman’s team demonstrates the process using
cheek cells harvested with a brush. They then shine light on the harvested cells.
Photons bounce off structures within them at different angles, depending on whether they are
healthy or not. The process is highly sensitive, and able to detect even very subtle abnormalities,
which could indicate problems elsewhere in the body. VADIM BACKMAN: We see alterations in cells that
are indicative of pre- pre-cancer, if you will. If you were to take the cells and look at the
microscope, you would not tell a difference. MILES O’BRIEN: Doctor Hemant Roy demonstrates
this probe, currently in clinical trials, that uses biophotonics to analyze tissue inside the mouth for
early lung cancer screening. HEMANT K. ROY, M.D.: With this probe, we’ve
done probably a couple of hundred patients, and we’re about ninety percent accurate. MILES O’BRIEN: Backman will soon lead a new
clinical trial to screen cervical cells for signs of ovarian cancer, something Melissa Chartrand can
appreciate. MELISSA HERSH CHARTRAND: If there had been
some sort of pre-screening tool or early detection, I might not have had to go through
any of what I went through. MILES O’BRIEN: Using light to one day save
lives. For Science Nation, I’m Miles O’Brien.

Comments (3)

  1. Science for the win. Excellent news.

  2. Francisco is lame

  3. Francisco is a silly goose

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