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Light-based probe detects earliest cancers

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            HEALTH TIPS - Thursday, March 28, 2007
"News That Keeps You Healthy"

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Light-based probe detects earliest cancers

DURHAM, N.C., -- A U.S.-made light-based probe, in its first
tests on human tissue, nearly instantly detected the
earliest signs of cancer in internal organ cells. If the
preliminary success of the "optical biopsy" device built by
Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering is confirmed,
such a device could ultimately provide a particular
advantage for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of
many types of cancer. "About 85 percent of all cancers start
in the epithelium (mucous membranes in the lungs, esophagus
and intestines)," said Adam Wax, a Duke professor of bio-
medical engineering. "It may be, for example, brain cancer
that causes a patient's death, but that cancer might have
originated in the colon or other site of epithelial tissue.
"Being able to detect pre-cancer in epithelial tissues would
therefore help prevent all types of cancer by catching it
early, before it has a chance to develop further or spread."
Wax and his former graduate student, John Pyhtila, report
the technology in the March issue of the journal Gastro-
intestinal Endoscopy.

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Giant 256-slice CT scanner is tested

BALTIMORE, -- U.S. scientists at the Johns Hopkins School
of Medicine have started a three-month safety and clinical
test of a 256-slice computed tomography scanner. The new
Japanese-made, 2-ton device -- believed to be the world's
most advanced CT imaging software and machine -- has four
times the detector coverage of its immediate predecessor,
the 64-CT. The Aquilion beta 256, with a sticker price
of more than $1 million, is expected to win approval for
general clinical use within a year. Dr. Joao Lima, a Johns
Hopkins cardiologist who is leading the study, said the
device can cover, in a single scan, four times the area
of current CT devices, capturing an image about 5 inches
in diameter -- a slice thick enough to image most individual
organs in one swoop, including the brain and heart, entire
joints, and most of the lungs and liver. Scientists said the
new, faster device will also make it possible to scan
patients with arrhythmia, acquiring a full image in the time
it takes for just one heart beat.


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German launches cancer vaccine campaign

BERLIN,-- Teenage girls in Germany will be urged to get free
cervical cancer vaccines under a new public health campaign.
Germany's Standing Commission for Vaccination recommended
that the nation's 3 million girls between 12 and 17 be
vaccinated against the Human papilloma virus, The Times of
London Reported. The HPV virus causes about 70 percent of
cervical tumors. Germany has sold the vaccines since last
year but the commission's approval means they will be
covered by state insurance companies for teenage girls. "It
not only prevents cancer," Dr. Lutz Gissman of the German
Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg told The Times, "it
also takes away the fear of many thousands of women waiting
for the outcome of tests for the illness."

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