This device could detect dozens of cancers with a single blood test
Early detection, we’re often told, is the surest way to beat cancer. It’s the reason why, year after year, men and women of a certain age dutifully visit their doctors and undergo uncomfortable tests to screen for things like prostate and breast cancer.
But what about the other hundred or so types of cancer out there—the brain cancers, the ovarian cancers, the leukemias and lymphomas? And what of the millions of young people who never get tested at all, even though they’ve been found to have worse outcomes than adults?
Current diagnostic methods for other cancers are invasive and expensive, so the vast majority of cancer patients never realize they might have cancer until something goes wrong with their health. By that point, in many cases, it’s already too late.
That’s why a new startup, dubbed Miroculus, is building a device that could easily and affordably check for dozens of cancers using a single blood sample. Known as Miriam, this low-cost, open source device made its public debut at the TEDGlobal conference in Rio De Janeiro on Thursday, with TED curator Chris Anderson calling it “one of the most thrilling demos in TED history.”
For the company’s founders—a global team of entrepreneurs, microbiologists, and data scientists—the goal is to make Miriam so simple that even untrained workers in clinics around the world could use it. The project is still in the early stages, but if the early trials of Miriam are to be believed, Miroculus could make regular cancer screenings as simple as getting blood drawn.
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