Russian Scientists Learn to Diagnose Cancer and Other Diseases With a Drop of Blood

CC0 / / Blood samples
 Blood samples - Sputnik International
Scientists at Samara National Research University, together with their colleagues from Samara State Medical University, have found a way to quickly diagnose cancer and other ailments using blood spectroscopy.

The new method will help save time, so that patients may promptly be sent to the necessary specialist. The research results were published in the Journal of Raman Spectroscopy.

According to scientists, it’s possible to perform a liquid biopsy in a matter of minutes using Raman spectroscopy. Unlike existing methods of laboratory analysis, which require hours, this method allows blood composition to be analysed in real time.

This procedure can be carried out using optical techniques, where light exchanges energy with the analyte’s molecules, the experts said. This helps establish the identity of a specific type of molecule and their concentration in the blood, which makes it possible to make a definite diagnosis.

"Light can interact with biological molecules, which are our body’s building blocks. If you know the process of this interaction, you can track the changes in the body’s composition and whether any pathology is developing with a single drop of blood. Moreover, this analysis can be carried out in a matter of minutes," Ivan Bratchenko, Associate Professor at the Department of Laser and Biotechnical Systems at Samara National Research University, said.

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He noted that scientists around the world are currently struggling to achieve higher accuracy and versatility with their proposed diagnostic methods. Although inferior in terms of accuracy to the approaches implemented using laboratory facilities, the method proposed by Samara National Research University specialists can be carried out with portable equipment. 

According to the authors of the study, carrying out fluid biopsy using portable equipment significantly reduces the cost of the blood analysis system. The scientists have come up with the most optimal methods to mathematically process spectral features. Such methods can be used for high-noise data that occurs when using portable equipment. 

"The results obtained can be in demand when conducting mass screening examinations. Liquid biopsy helps quickly identify people with pathology and send them to the necessary specialist. It also helps monitor the condition of patients that are already undergoing treatment. When examining the blood composition, liquid biopsy may also show whether there is improvement or worsening of the patient's condition," Ivan Bratchenko said. 

To improve the proposed device so that it can be used in hospitals, the coordinated work of physicists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, and, of course, doctors is needed. In the future, scientists want to improve the methods of analysis and conduct extensive clinical trials of the proposed approach in various groups of patients.

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