A start-up in London has created a blockchain-based cancer screening system that claims to provide results within minutes.
Lancor Scientific, founded at the beginning of 2018, has created a 'Medici' token - a form of cryptocurrency - that can be used to access its blockchain platform.
Through this platform, patients will be able to book, review and pay for their cancer screening tests.
According to the company, its Tumour Trace device uses opto-magnetic imaging spectroscopy to identify tissue changes that occur when cancer develops.
Its detector is said to be able to detect signs of cancer with 90 per cent accuracy within two minutes.
Users of the screening service will access the portal through their smart phone, and register an account on the web portal. They can pay in various currencies, including cryptocurrencies.
The user will then go for a screening at a clinic registered with the platform, verifying their identity through their smartphone.
When the report has been created, it will be shared with the patient. According to Lancor, the report is stored on a separate, private blockchain to ensure the patient’s records are secure.
Aamir Butt, CEO of the start-up, said: “Lancor Scientific aims to make early-detection cancer screening accessible to everyone.
“The use of the Tumour Trace device combined with our blockchain-based cancer registry will see this potential become a reality, especially in countries that need it the most."
Speaking to the Standard, he added he hopes to bring the technology into the NHS once the accuracy of the mechanism has been improved.
“The plan is to work with the NHS. We are thinking of multi-diagnostic centres where we could see the tech having a home,” he said.
Butt could not rule out that the cost of using the screening could fall on the patient, but added that decision would lie with the governments of each country where it is rolled out.
At the moment, he would like to see the technology used in the NHS within two years, and privately available at some point in 2019.
Although the technology is being tested in Austria at the moment, Cancer Research UK has warned that any new screening systems used in the UK must be researched to ensure they are safe.
Emma Shields, from CRUK, said: “The UK has three national cancer screening programmes for specific age groups, which aim to pick up bowel, breast and cervical cancers before symptoms develop.
“These programmes are based on evidence reviewed by the UK National Screening Committee, which also considers how practical and appropriate each programme is.
“Any potential screening test needs to be researched thoroughly to make sure the benefits outweigh the harms.”