Getting cancer is no laughing matter. Detecting cancer cells and antigens is a time consuming process, and usually requires days to complete. Well, those days may soon be over, as researchers at MIT and Harvard have just created a mini NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) device that is operated by a smartphone (the results show up in the display) that is able to detect cancer cells in under one hour and will cost only $200 to produce. The device is also startlingly accurate, and according to recent tests is 96% accurate. Dr. Ralph Weissleder of Harvard Medical School, one of the creators of the device explains how it works: “Maybe I should tell you a little bit about the micro-NMR machine first. Very similar as a clinical MRI machine, it uses the same physics principles, but it interrogates very tiny objects i.e., specific cells. It does that by looking at magnetic nanoparticles that are targeted to specific proteins on cancer cells of interest in measuring magnetic properties in those samples. So, by using differently tagged antibodies we can specifically detect protein signatures on these cells.” Once the device is ready for prime time, it’ll prove to be a valuable tool in fighting cancer, especially in poor, impoverished countries and developing nations.