Intriguing Way to DetectCancer, Explosives and More
Researchers at Purdue University have shown how a new ultra-fast chemical-analysis tool could yield many promising uses including detecting cancer in the liver. The analytical chemists say the technology, called desorption electrospray ionization or DESI, rapidly detects the boundaries of cancerous tumors information that could help surgeons remove entire tumors. “I wouldn’t be surprised if pathologists are using this in operating rooms within two years,” says R. Graham Cooks, professor of analytical chemistry in Purdue’s College of Science.
Other applications for the technology include detecting explosives residues on luggage and biomarkers in urine that provide an early warning for diseases.
The technology has also made it possible to speed up and simplify the use of a mass spectrometer, an analytical device that in its conventional form has been long established in modern laboratories. In fact, researchers at Purdue have created a portable mass spectrometer that weighs about 22 pounds. Pictured here is the latest prototype, the Mini 10 portable mass spectrometer, which is roughly the size of a shoebox.