A team of Scottish scientists claim they have developed small gold chemical sensors that can help diagnose a disease and track its progress.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh's School of Chemistry have developed tiny probes which are inserted into cells in the body.
Once the sensors are inserted, laser lights are shone at the probe and consequently cause nearby proteins in the cell to vibrate according to their shape at it is re-emitted.
As a result, the different vibrations often caused by diseases spreading, it is claimed, could be detected by this method.
Sensors are gold-coated as this will prevent the patient from rejecting the implant, with gold being an unreactive metal.
Dr Colin Campbell who led the research team said they had "developed a useful device" that can be safely implanted into tissue and using the light-measurement will help patients.
According to a press release, further research will focus on the immune system. However, researchers are claiming the technique can be adapted to a wide range of conditions.