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Cancer Beware


Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a new carbon nanotube device that is capable of finding single cancer cells in patients, says 80beats' Patrick Morgan. The microfluidics device, published in the journal Small, could help doctors find cancer cells that have spread from the original tumor site. The researchers developed a similar device four years ago — it featured tens of thousands of microscopic silicon posts coated with tumor-sticking antibodies, and when cancer cells bumped into the posts, they would stick and be detected, Morgan says. The new device, the researchers say, is eight times better than the old one, with highly porous carbon nanotubes replacing the solid silicon tubes. "This allows the blood to actually flow through the tubes instead of just around them, increasing the likelihood of catching a cancer cell," Morgan says. The process to commercialize the technology and get it into labs and hospitals is going to take a while, he adds.

The Scan

Looking for Omicron

NPR reports that SARS-CoV-2 testing in the US has gotten better but also that some experts say more needs to be done to better track the Omicron variant.

Holmes Alleges Abuse

The Associated Press reports that Theranos' Elizabeth Holmes has testified at her wire fraud trial that her business and romantic partner abused her.

Bit More Diverse, But More to Do

While Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to participate in cancer clinical trials than previously, they are still underrepresented, according to US News & World Report.

PNAS Papers on Yeast Gene Silencing, Zika Virus Inhibition, Immunoglobulin Hypermutation

In PNAS this week: gene silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, possible neuroprotective role for SHFL in a mouse model of Zika virus infection, and more.