Detection in two seconds

A new high-tech spittoon collects DNA from saliva, making medical research less invasive

Detection in two seconds


One in seven Canadians will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. The good news is the disease has a high survival rate—if detected early.

Enter the Aura, a world-beating device that detects if a lesion is cancerous in less than two seconds. The technology, developed by the B.C. Cancer Agency and the University of British Columbia, was recently approved by Health Canada. The Aura should be available to health professionals by summer, says Thomas Braun, founder of Vancouver-based Verisante Technology, which licensed the device. It uses a hand-held wand to optically analyze the skin, allowing early detection of deadly melanoma, and more common skin cancers. Variants of the technology are under development for detecting lung, colon, cervical and gastrointestinal cancers. Both in terms of treatment costs and unnecessary biopsies, says Braun, “it’s got great potential to save lives, and save money.”

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