IPhone: the gadget that detects tumors with an accuracy of 99%

The tool is able to intercept the biomarker interleukin, a protein present in some types of cancer

The smarphone could soon save our lives. A research group at Washington State University has developed a tool that allows the iPhone to accurately detect some of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

Leading the team of American scientists was Professor Lei Li. The device, according to the research group, is able to understand in an instant with an accuracy of 99% whether one of the eight samples in the gadget contains malignant cells. In particular to be identified is the interleukin-6 (IL-6), a protein used as a tumor marker for some forms of cancer, such as prostate, lung, breast and epithelial. At the moment, the device works only with the iPhone 5, but it is very likely that it could soon be used with any other smartphone.

How it works

The life-saving gadget consists of an eight-channel spectrometer that measures the light spectrum to detect the tumor protein present in one of the samples. The device devised at Washington State University is not the first of its kind. In fact, there are other similar gadgets that, however, can not measure more than one sample at a time, so from the clinical point of view are not reliable. For the first time, researchers have created a device that is 99% reliable because it can simultaneously measure up to eight chemical compounds through a test called ELISA.

How it can be used

Because it is so practical, researchers say the detector can be used as a kind of portable laboratory, when, for example, there is a large quantity of samples but you don't have the opportunity to use the tools that are normally found in a medical laboratory.