Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Australian innovation

From http://discovermagazine.com/blogs/discoblog/archive/2008/01/23/when-australians-invade:
"Finding Cancer in Hair
Last, but not least, Fermiscan, a company with the alternative to the mammogram, stole the show today and, consequently, took the prize money. David Young, managing director touted his company’s unique technique to discover breast cancer with a simple, non-invasive pluck of (dye-free) hair. Once removed, the hair is shipped to one of 40 synchrotron—or a sub-atomic particle accelerator—facilities worldwide where molecular x-ray patterns are compared. It turns out breast cancer can be detected by changes in the structure of hair—so far with 80% accuracy, according to the current 2,000 patient trial. All the imaging work for Fermiscan is already being done in U.S. labs (With a home in Chicago), and with a 7 to 10 day turnaround, the breast cancer detection could prove to be a relatively simple, and more accurate, alternative to a mammogram. That is, unless you dye your hair, in which case you might have to plan to grow out your roots every 4 weeks or so."

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