Wednesday February 21, 2018

Butterfly IQ : The iPhone-based Portable Ultrasound Machine to Detect Cancer

Developed by Connecticut-based start-up Butterfly Network, the pocket sized device works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes.

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Butterfly IQ
There is a new portable device that might be able to detect cancer. Pixabay
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New York, October 29, 2017 : A novel iPhone-based portable ultrasound machine that can help detect cancer easily at home has been developed by US researchers.

The device called Butterfly IQ is a scanner of the size of an electric razor that can display black-and-white imagery of the body, when paired with an iPhone.
Developed by Connecticut-based start-up Butterfly Network, the pocket sized device works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes.
Usually, the sound waves are generated by a vibrating crystal. But Butterfly’s machine instead uses 9,000 tiny drums etched onto a semiconductor chip, reported the MIT Technology Review on Friday.
Earlier this year, John Martin, a US-based vascular surgeon and chief medical officer at Butterfly Network, discovered a cancerous mass in his own throat while testing the device.
Martin felt an uncomfortable feeling of thickness on his throat, thus he oozed out some gel and ran the probe along his neck.
On his smartphone, to which the device is connected, black-and gray images quickly appeared.
He found a 3 cm mass that was diagnosed as squamous-cell cancer — a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin.
Instead of vibrating crystals, Butterfly IQ uses “capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers”, or CMUTs, tiny ultrasonic emitters layered on a semiconductor chip a little larger than a postage stamp.
“The device gives you the ability to do everything at the bedside: you can pull it out of your pocket and scan the whole body,” Martin said.
The company now plans to combine the instrument with artificial-intelligence software that could help a novice position the probe, collect the right images, and interpret them.
By 2018, its software will let users automatically calculate how much blood a heart is pumping, or detect problems like aortic aneurisms, the report said.
The Butterfly IQ is the first solid-state ultrasound machine to reach the market in the US. The company plans to go on sale this year for $1,999-far less than any other model on the market. (IANS)
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Girls may inherit ovarian cancer gene from fathers

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer

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A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons
A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have found a gene responsible for ovarian cancer that can be passed down from fathers to their daughters.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls.

A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer’s age of onset by more than six years.

“Our study may explain why we find families with multiple affected daughters: because a dad’s chromosomes determine the sex of his children, all of his daughters have to carry the same X-chromosome genes,” said Kevin H.

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Eng, Assistant Professor at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Buffalo, the US.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, stated that the genetic mutation inherited from the paternal grandmothers were also associated with higher rates of prostate cancer in fathers and sons as well.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons
The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer.

The results proposed that a gene on the X-chromosome may contribute to a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, independently of other known susceptibility genes, such as the BRCA genes.

This observation suggests that there may be many cases of seemingly sporadic ovarian cancer that are actually inherited, and may lead to improved cancer screening and better genetic risk assessment.

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However, future studies will be needed to confirm the identity and function of this gene.

“What we have to do next is make sure we have the right gene by sequencing more families. This finding has sparked a lot of discussion within our group about how to find these X-linked families,” Eng said.

“It’s an all-or-none kind of pattern: A family with three daughters who all have ovarian cancer is more likely to be driven by inherited X mutations than by BRCA mutations,” Eng noted. (IANS)