FISH on Chips and ...Cancer?

New diagnostic technology developed at the University of Alberta will allow for a quicker and more effective diagnosis of cancer, uniquely called fish-on-a-chip. The so-called FISH (or "fluorescent in situ hybridization") is a test that checks for a mutation of chromosomes in several different types of cancer. While thought to be highly effective, FISH tests had been used only in clinical trials because of their expense and time involvement.

New technology that allows researchers to place the FISH test on a tiny chip has made the procedure much more affordable and accessible. Patients can benefit from the test for as little as $100 for ten tests - a fraction of the current costs. One of the benefits is to enable doctors to make individualized treatment plans.

Dr. Linda Pilarski said that, "The ability to design 'personalized' therapies means that patients will be able to receive more effective treatments sooner and avoid exposure to side effects from treatments that will not help them." The new technology also means that the FISH test can be made available to patients in rural and remote areas, without the need to travel to major centers.


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