Diaper Check

Can a new tool for cancer diagnoses be found in…baby diapers?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Detecting cancer early can help doctors to better treat it. One common way to find tumors is using X-ray computed tomography, or C-T scan. Scientists are always trying to improve this tool. They usually test the machine by scanning fake tumors made from three D printed plastic. But these lumps of plastic do a bad job of mimicking the real deal. That makes imaging less accurate.

Zachary Levine at the National Institute of Standards and Technology may have found a better alternative. DISPOSABLE DIAPERS!

Turns out, pumping water into diapers creates wet clumps that look like real tumors. Scientists can even make the fake cancer cells grow. They just — add more water!

A wet diaper is astonishing at copying what a tumor looks like. That helps C-T scans more accurately measure the volume and mass of a tumor!

This simple trick can help doctors and researchers better detect tumors and model cancer growth.

Now that’s a quick AND clean solution that doesn’t smell!