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In the future, a new type of contact lens can both let you see better and alert you if you have cancer cells in your body.
Researchers at the Terasaki Institute in the US have constructed a lens that can capture and analyze so-called exosomes in human tears.
Exosomes function as a kind of messenger in the body, and they carry with them, among other things, proteins that can contain biomarkers that show whether there are cancer cells in the body. Because the lens can analyze the exosomes continuously, it is faster to detect cancer and start treatment before any other symptoms appear.
That exosomes can carry biomarkers for cancer has been known for a long time, but it has been difficult to isolate and analyze the exosomes. Special centrifuges have been required and it has taken at least ten hours to carry out an analysis. With the new contact lens, the analysis is almost instantaneous.
The researchers have tested the lens in a laboratory environment and there it has shown that it is effective in detecting biomarkers for cancer. Now the researchers need to go ahead with clinical tests to prove that it works just as well in human eyes.