Skip to Content

Smart Needle

A medical probe under development at NASA promises to identify cancerous tumors without requiring surgical biopsies. San Jose, CA-based BioLuminate recently obtained a license from NASA to produce a disposable needle that makes real-time measurements of breast tissue to distinguish potentially cancerous masses. Sensors in the tip of the instrument register data such as tissue density, oxygen levels and density of blood vessels. The probe has the potential to significantly reduce the more than 16,000 unnecessary surgical breast biopsies performed weekly in the United States. The smart needle should be available for breast cancer detection in about three years. From there, the technology may be applied to identify prostate, colon, cervical and brain tumors.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.