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Laser system to detect diseases faster

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Sydney: Researchers are developing a laser system for a non-invasive, on-site breath analysis that can screen various diseases including diabetes, infections and cancer in a moment.

The team from University of Adelaide has developed an instrument like an “optical dog’s nose” that uses a special laser to measure the molecular content of a sample of gas, which can hit the market in three-five years.

“The laser system uses light to ‘sense’ the range of molecules that are present in the sample,” said James Anstie, research fellow with the university’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

Those molecules are by-products of metabolic processes in the body and their levels change when things go wrong.

Diseases like lung and esophageal cancer, asthma and diabetes can be detected in this way even before external symptoms are showing, said the study that appeared in the journal Optics Express.

The system uses a specialised laser that sends up to a million different light frequencies through the sample.

Each molecule absorbs light at different optical frequencies and, therefore, has a unique molecular fingerprint.

“The next step is to work out how to accurately sample and interpret the levels which will naturally vary from person to person,” the researchers said.

Other potential applications include measuring trace gasses, such as atmospheric carbon dioxide, and detecting impurities in natural gas streams.

(IANS)

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New Drug to Give Hopes to Bone Marrow Cancer Patients

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups

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Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A therapeutic drug has been found to improve outcomes and survival rates for patients with a serious type of bone marrow cancer.

In a clinical trial by researchers at Newcastle University in Britain, patients with newly diagnosed myeloma were treated with a drug called lenalidomide.

The results, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology, showed an improvement for those who received lenalidomide drug, compared to those not receiving it.

“This is a major breakthrough as it shows that the long-term use of lenalidomide significantly improves the time myeloma patients stay in remission after initial therapy,” said Professor Graham Jackson from the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells and it can affect several areas of the body, such as the spine, skull, pelvis and ribs. Current treatment usually involves chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant.

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New drug offers hope for bone marrow cancer patients. Pixabay

“It is a huge step and, importantly, identifies that for younger patients lenalidomide improves their overall survival for this difficult-to-treat bone marrow cancer,” Jackson said.

“Our research highlights that lenalidomide should be considered for newly diagnosed patients following stem-cell transplantation,” he added.

As part of the study, a total of 1,137 newly diagnosed patients were randomly assigned to lenalidomide maintenance therapy and 834 patients to observation – this was after they completed their initial treatment.

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The results show that lenalidomide can prolong the average remission time by more than two years in younger patients and by well over a year in older, less fit patients.

It reduced the risk of progression or death by more than 50 per cent in both groups. (IANS)