Friends, the current pace of inventions, technological advances and increase in scientific knowledge amazes me.
An implant which detects in the body and causes a small artificial mole to appear on the skin as an early warning sign has been developed by scientists.
The tiny patch lies under the skin and is made of a network of cells which constantly monitor calcium levels in the body.
causes calcium to rocket in the body, and when too much is detected, the implant triggers the production of melanin - the body’s tanning pigment - which causes a small dark mole to appear.
Swiss scientists from the university say the device can recognise the four most common types of cancer - prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer - at a very early stage of tumor development.
Cancer patients are far more likely to survive if the disease is picked up early. For example nearly all women with stage one breast cancer survive for five years, but by stage four, survival falls to just 22 per cent.
Martin Fussenegger, Professor at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich, said the implant could be available within a decade.
“Nowadays, people generally go to the doctor only when the tumor begins to cause problems. Unfortunately, by that point it is often too late.
"Early detection increases the chance of survival significantly.
"An implant carrier should see a doctor for further evaluation after the mole appears. The mole does not mean that the person is likely to die soon.”
The mole appears long before the cancer becomes detectable through conventional diagnosis as an early warning system which tells people it is time to seek treatment.
Scientists think it would be particularly useful for people who are genetically susceptible to cancer, such as people carrying the which put them at far greater risk of breast cancer than normal.
And for people who would prefer not to deal with the stress of constantly checking their skin for signs of disease, scientists are also developing an implant which is only visible under red light. "This regular check could be carried out by their doctor,” added Dr Fussenegger.
So far the early warning system has only been trialed on human cells, in mice and on pig skin, but it was found to function well in all tests.
The researchers are also hopeful it could be developed to spot other markers in the body, such as chemical changes which signal that dementia or hormone disorders are on the way.
Dr Catherine Pickworth from , said: “The idea that ‘wearable technology’ could one day act as a warning sign for cancer is exciting, but it’s early days for this research. .
“Spotting cancer early is one of the most powerful ways of improving survival, so finding the best way to monitor people at high risk, or those in remission, is an important challenge.”