Discover the MasSpec Pen: A device to detect cancer by touch

The MasSpec Pen aims to give surgeons more precise diagnostic information about what to cut and what to preserve during cancer surgery. It is an automated handheld mass spectrometry device that is used for non-destructive diagnosis of human cancer tissues.

For achieving this, a surgeon needs to hold the MasSpec Pen against the patient’s tissue and use a foot pedal to trigger the automated analysis. During this time, the pen releases a water drop on the tissue and all the small molecules migrate into the water. After that, the water sample drives back to the device and is ready to read thousands of molecules just like a fingerprint. After the analysis is completed, the surgeon will be able to see the result “normal” or “cancer” on his computer screen.

So far, the evidence shows that the MasSpec Pen could potentially be used as a clinical and intra-operative tool for ex-vivo and in-vivo cancer diagnosis.