Northwestern researcher Vadim Backman was recently funded by the National Cancer Institute to continue his work on technology that may lead to a less expensive and less invasive test to detect colon cancer.
Backman's group has developed a molecular flashlight, of sorts. Using light from a xenon bulb, they have devised a method to detect miniscule changes in a cell's structure that are diagnostic for cancer. The technique is able to detect these changes before they can be seen with a microscope. As is true for all cancers, early detection is a key factor in survival rate.
Backman, professor of biomedical engineering at McCormick, is also working on a screening method for pancreatic cancer. This project was featured in a recent SiS Research Digest article, found here.