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Press Release 10-177

Cheek Swab May Detect Lung Cancer

In clinical trial, technique appears to detect lung cancer far afield from a tumor

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Illustration showing nano-scale disturbances in cheek cells indicate the presence of lung cancer.

Nano-scale disturbances in cheek cells indicate the presence of lung cancer. Regular microscopy looking at chromatin, the genetic material inside a cell's nucleus, will not reveal significant dissimilarities between the cheek cells of a healthy person and those of a lung cancer patient. However, a new technique called partial wave spectroscopic microscopy (PWS) zeroes in on smaller-than-microscopic disturbances at the nano-level, which are harbingers of trouble.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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