Sunday March 24, 2019

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

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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Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A new research has set the stage for clinicians to potentially use levels of a pancreatic cancer patient’s PHLPP1 and PKC enzymes as a prognostic and for researchers to develop new therapeutic drugs that change the balance of the two enzymes as a means to treat the disease.

The study, published on Wednesday in Molecular Cell, was led by Alexandra Newton, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Timothy Baffi, a graduate student in her lab, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new study built on the team’s work in 2015 that found the enzyme PKC, which was believed in previous studies to promote tumour growth, actually suppressed it.

The latest study took the investigation a step further by uncovering how cells regulate PKC activity and discovered that any time an over-active PKC is inadvertently produced, the PHLPP1 “proofreader” tags it for destruction.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

“That means the amount of PHLPP1 in your cells determines your amount of PKC,” Newton said. “And it turns out those enzyme levels are especially important in pancreatic cancer.”

The team observed 105 pancreatic cancer tumours to analyze the enzyme levels in each one. About 50 per cent of patients with low PHLPP1/high PKC lived longer than five-and-a-half years.

Also Read- A Brain Circuit Can Help Reverse Craving for Liquor, Says Study

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system. It typically doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Sufferers tend to develop signs, such as back pain and jaundice, when it has spread to other organs. (IANS)