WASHINGTON – Smartphones could become tools for quick, accurate and affordable diagnosis of certain types of cancer, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A team at Massachusetts General Hospital describes a method based on diffraction that allows cellular and molecular diagnosis.
The device the team has developed – called the D3 (digital diffraction diagnosis) system – features an imaging module with a battery-powered LED light clipped onto a standard smartphone that records high-resolution imaging data with its camera.
The data can then be transmitted for analysis to a remote graphic-processing server via a secure, encrypted cloud service, and the results returned to the point of care in roughly 45 minutes.
Researchers used the D3 system to examine pre-cancerous and cancerous cells and to detect the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The method, according to the authors, could be useful in regions where access to medical services is limited.
The diagnostic test has a cost of about $1.80 per sample, which makes it viable for smartphone-based detection of diseases in areas with limited health care resources, the study said.