UPI reported last week that researchers from Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare have developed techniques using light scatter that may be able to detect early stage pancreatic cancers, analagous to previous work this group has done with early colon cancer screening and four-dimensional elastic light-scattering fingerprinting (4D-ELF). Drs. Roy and Backman also presented their work recently at the CAP Futurescape 2007 meeting.
“The results in our colon cancer work, in which measurements are taken from the rectum, led us to wonder if we could use tissue taken from the duodenum to screen for pancreatic cancer,” said Backman. “Our study published in Clinical Cancer Research has shown that not only can we detect large tumors but early tumors as well.”
Pancreatic cancer test uses light
The easily monitored marker may allow early detection of a disease known for having few obvious symptoms, said a team of engineers from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and physicians from Evanston-Northwestern Healthcare.
The technique produces an optic fingerprint from the altered tissue and enhances data for a clearer diagnosis.
Researchers scanned tissue samples from 19 people already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 32 without the disease.
The researchers said they were able to properly distinguish patients with cancer at an accuracy approaching 100 percent and the clearest results came from patients in the earliest stages of the disease.
The technological breakthrough causes light to penetrate the cells most affected by cancer without hitting deeper unaffected cells and to scan cell structures on the scale of nanometers, smaller than a doctor can see with a microscope.