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U.S. biotechnology venture is soliciting Japanese investors for what it claims is a next-generation medical device that can identify early-stage cancers with real-time analysis.

Richard Hular, president of BioLuminate Co. in San Jose, Calif., said at a presentation session in Tokyo last week that the medical device, dubbed “smart needle,” will be put on the market, initially in the U.S., in two years for about $50,000 a unit.

According to Hular, the device detects cancerous tissues without the need for surgical biopsies and provides real-time data to the physician.

The initial application of the technology, based on an intelligent fiber-optic probe invented by NASA for the Mars Lander program, will be for early breast cancer diagnosis, he said. Future applications include prostate, lung, colon, cervical and brain cancers, he added.

According to an industry survey, 85 percent of all breast biopsies conducted each year in the U.S. yield negative results. The device will dramatically reduce such unnecessary biopsies, which cost the U.S. health care system more than $2.3 billion annually, the venture firm said.

For further information, contact the Affiliated Business Department, Nifco Ltd., at (03) 5476-4855.

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