Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have managed to turn the world's fastest camera into a tool for spotting cancer cells. Described as a "high-throughput flow-through optical microscope," the device was originally developed back in 2009, but has since been updated with real-time image processing and advanced microfluidics in order to complete its new task. It can identify breast cancer cells in blood in real time with a low false-positive rate of one cell in a million — which the researchers claim is a new record. It also features a throughput of 100,000 cells per second, about 100 times quicker than current image analyzers.
"This technology can significantly reduce errors and costs in medical diagnosis."
"This technology can significantly reduce errors and costs in medical diagnosis," said UCLA program manager Keisuke Goda. The camera could one day be used for early detection, as well as monitoring the effects of drug and radiation therapy on cancer cells. But there are also a few potential non-cancer related applications, too — including testing urine and monitoring water quality. Unfortunately, there's currently no announced timetable for when we might see this technology make the jump from the lab to the real world.