Cancer Detecting Yogurt Could Replace Colonoscopies - NY Requirements Blog
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Cancer Detecting Yogurt Could Replace Colonoscopies
Posted by Kristal Roberts

Most patients are less than thrilled about colonoscopies, and it’s completely understandable.

The process often entails taking a sedative to help them relax while they lie on their sides as a doctor or nurse pushes a colonoscope up their rectum to check things out. It’s not too pleasant, to say the least, however it’s viewed as a necessary evil to help health professionals catch colorectal cancer.

But what if checking the colon for cancer was as easy as taking a spoon full of yogurt?

It may seem too simple to be true, but this cheap, non-invasive method created by MIT Professor Sangetta Bhaita may one day replace expensive, uncomfortable MRIs and colonoscopies.

So how can a yogurt detect cancer?

A synthetic molecule developed by Professor Bhaita is mixed into yogurt. Once the yogurt passes through the patient’s system, the patient would urinate on a urine strip, much like taking a pregnancy test.

The synthetic molecules in the yogurt are designed to provide telltale indicators as to whether the patient has cancer.

Nanoparticles interact with present tumors in the digestive system, and then they’re collected and concentrated in the kidneys before the patient urinates.

The test has been used on mice for colorectal cancer and liver fibrosis.

Columbia University biomedical engineering professor Samuel Sia said the nanoparticle injections testing showed to be reliable among mice, but since there is no data from clinical trials at this time, he wouldn’t call it a solution.

According to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of people who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer early on can survive for five or more years. However, only 40 percent of people are diagnosed early.

Bhatia hopes that her method can transform the world of diagnostics. This simple method could provide easy access to testing, especially for people in less affluent nations. She told Technology Review that she is currently in the process of creating a company that will help her to commercialize her creation.