Breast cancer

Cancer researchers win top prize for ‘game changing’ diagnostic invention

A team of cancer researchers who developed a next-generation microscope that ‘lights up’ breast cancer cells have been recognised in the 2022 Eureka Prizes.

The Melbourne-based collaborators say they spent six years creating the NanoMslide, which is billed as a technology that turns a regular glass microscope slide into a diagnostic lab, using a patented coating.

Cancer cells interact with the coating and “automatically light up”, producing an instant colour variation on the slide’s surface making abnormal cells easy to spot.

This enables fast, accurate, cost-effective diagnoses without the need for specialised equipment, according to the award citation by the Australian Museum (link here).

It said the product worked with existing microscopes and removed the need for manual staining and other steps which could lead to interpretation errors.

Associate Professor Belinda Parker from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who led the clinical validation, said there were high hopes for the technology.

“NanoMslide has enormous potential for enabling faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis of early-stage breast cancers and may also be readily adapted to early diagnosis of a host of cancers including lung, melanoma and colon cancer,” she said.

“Not only is it a game-changing technology in cancer diagnosis, there are further potential applications in industry and we’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible with NanoMslide.”

The prize was also awarded to the technology’s co-inventors, Professor Brian Abbey and Dr Eugeniu Balaur from La Trobe University.

Professor Brian Abbey said: “Using our slide is as though you’ve been seeing in black and white your whole life and then suddenly someone shows you colour.”

“And because it can be used with any microscope, the possibilities are endless.”

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