Japanese electrical company Toshiba says it has developed technology to detect 13 types of cancer from a drop of blood.
While trials are set for next year, Toshiba hopes to commercialise the product — developed in partnership with Tokyo Medical University and the National Cancer Center Research Institute — over the next few years.
Japan Times reports that the method works by examining the prevalence of microRNA molecules, produced by cancerous cells. This method has been used by other companies to diagnose cancer from blood samples.
Photo of Toshiba’s device. On Kyodo News
The test, which can check for cancers including pancreatic, bowel, breast and lung, can be conducted in less than two hours. A blood test with the device is expected to cost less than 20,000 Yen (around $180 USD.)
“Compared to other companies’ methods, we have an edge in the degree of accuracy in cancer detection, the time required for detection and the cost,” Koji Hashimoto, chief research scientist at Toshiba’s Frontier Research Laboratory said, as quoted by Japan Times. Toshiba’s device reportedly has 99% accuracy.
The announcement comes as Toshiba makes a concerted effort to enter the healthcare market: Japan Times highlights that its recent five-year business strategy set out cell diagnosis and genome analysis as key themes.