If true, this is huge:
Dr Ralph Weissleder of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues have developed a miniaturized nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanner that identifies molecules by the way their nuclei are affected by magnetic fields. It also attaches magnetic nanoparticles to proteins to allow specific proteins, such as those found in tumor cells, to be identified.
The gadget was tested on suspicious cells collected by fine needle aspiration from 50 patients. Because the samples needed are so small, cells could be taken from several areas of the suspected tumor. The samples were labeled with magnetic nanoparticles and then injected into the micro-NMR machine.
The results can be read by connecting the device to a smartphone loaded with a specially-programmed application. The samples tested revealed nine protein markers for cancer cells. When the results for four of these proteins were combined they allowed the team to produce a diagnosis.
Keep your eyes peeled for more news on this one.