Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rewriting Life

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.

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Print + All Access Digital.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.