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This Week in Science: Sep 8, 2017

In this week's Science, the University of Cambridge's Robert Wallach discusses the importance of postdoctoral researchers to universities and calls for greater support for their career development, particularly within academia. "Despite their enormous career potential, postdocs need deeper and more complex opportunities while still employed by their universities to achieve their personal potential," he writes in an editorial. "A key first step for universities and funding bodies is to expand support, resources, and attention for their postdocs. We all know change takes time, but for postdocs, changes must be implemented sooner rather than later."

And in Science Translational Medicine, a team led by University of Texas researchers reports the development of a handheld, mass spectrometry-based device that can accurately and rapidly diagnose cancer. Called MassSpec Pen, the device enables controlled and automated delivery of a discrete water droplet to a tissue surface for efficient extraction of biomolecules, which can then be analyzed for malignancy. The scientists used MassSpec Pen for ex vivo molecular analysis of 20 human cancer thin tissue sections and 253 human patient tissue samples, then created a molecular profile that could identify cancers with 96.4 percent sensitivity, 96.2 percent specificity, and 96.3 percent accuracy. They also used the device to identify tumors in living mice without causing any tissue damage, providing evidence that it could potentially be used as a clinical and intraoperative technology for cancer diagnosis. 360Dx has more on this, here.