*Wow! This is certainly news we can use. Especially if you’ve ever been through the uncomfortable colonoscopy process. The process is a cancer screening that allows the doctor to look inside your entire colon and rectum for potential signs of cancerous polyps.
The scary thing is, and I’ve heard this from a LOT of people diagnosed with cancer, breast cancer aside, you don’t really feel anything. So you have no idea if there is a polyp or not.
The procedure is generally recommended to those approaching age 50, but some may be required to have it earlier.
But now, work is being done that will hopefully eliminate the need for colonoscopies and MRIs. Word has it that work is being done to actually replace the need for these procedures with a simple helping of, wait for it, yogurt – followed by a urine test.
Sangeeta N. Bhatia, a professor at M. I. T. is developing synthetic molecules that can be introduced into the body by you eating a helping of yogurt. The yogurt will then interact with cancer (if its in you) in a way that will produce “telltale biomarkers” which will be detected when you urinate.
Previously, the professor had done similar work with nanoparticles that found their way to tumors before they were broken into smaller pieces by the enzymes that had been produced by the cancer. The small, broken up particles were then collected and concentrated by the kidneys before they were excreted.
Bhatia has even developed a new paper-based unrine test, similar to a pregnancy test strip, that now replaces the lab instruments they used to use to analyze urine as they searched for telltale markers. So far, these “strips” have only been demonstrated in mice for colorectal cancer and liver fibrosis.
Its a bacteria that is found in yogurt that Bhatia looks to modify in her development of a way to deliver the nanoparticles. Previously this was only done by injection. The bacteria produces the nanoparticle biomarkers by interacting with a tumor.
Bhatia is especially excited about how this process will help those in poor countries and those unable to get the medical treatment they need because of financial restraints.
Read more about this exciting new development at MIT Technology Review.