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AKIPRESS.COM - A handheld device can identify cancerous tissue in 10 seconds, according to scientists at the University of Texas.
They say it could make surgery to remove a tumour quicker, safer and more precise.
And they hope it would avoid the "heartbreak" of leaving any of the cancer behind.
Tests, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggest the technology is accurate 96% of the time, BBC reported.
The MasSpec Pen takes advantage of the unique metabolism of cancer cells.
Their furious drive to grow and spread means their internal chemistry is very different to that of healthy tissue.
The pen is touched on to a suspected cancer and releases a tiny droplet of water.
Chemicals inside the living cells move into the droplet, which is then sucked back up the pen for analysis.
The pen is plugged into a mass spectrometer - a piece of kit that can measure the mass of thousands of chemicals every second.
It produces a chemical fingerprint that tells doctors whether they are looking at healthy tissue or cancer.