New Worm-On-A-Chip Device Detects Cancer

May, 2022 - By SMI

New Worm-On-A-Chip Device Detects Cancer

The prototype device as reported by the scientists detects lung cancer with the use of roundworm with 70 percent accuracy and could someday help to diagnose lung cancer noninvasively

As it’s known dogs are capable of detecting various type of cancer in humans using their significant sense of smell. Now researchers at Myongji University in Korea developed a device that uses tiny roundworm called C. elegans to detect lung cancer cells and according to the team of scientists, this new worm-on-a-chip device performed with 70% accuracy and could become a new noninvasive way of diagnosing lung cancer in the future.

Dogs are familiarly used for detecting everything from explosives, drugs, to malaria and cancer. Recently a group of French scientists showed a method for training ants in order to detect cancer cells, where it was found that ants can detect cancer cells as accurately as dogs. Now, in this yet to be published research, the scientists used even smaller organisms, tiny roundworms known as Caenorhabditis elegans. In prior lab studies these worms were found to move preferentially towards urine samples of patients with cancer. Thus, the team tried to turn these behavioral characteristic into a diagnostic test. The team developed a normal plastic chip having well at both ends and placed healthy lung cells in one well and a culture from cells of lung cancer on the other end.

Furthermore, as reported by the team, a considerably higher number of worms moved after one hour towards the lung cancer cells than healthy ones. In order to confirm the organisms were attracted to specific odor particles, the team designed gene mutations to these round worms disrupting their olfactory senses and conducted the same test where the behavior of worms was not same as in previous test. The research definitely needs more work for enhancing the accuracy of the current test. Nonetheless, this new worm-on-a-chip device could be used for noninvasively detecting different types of cancers in future.

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