New Sensor Allows Naked Eye to See Early Detection Test Results for Diseases
October 30, 2012 7:20 PM
It has proved effective with prostate cancer and HIV biomarkers
A new sensor not only provides early stage test results for diseases accurately, but these results can also be seen by the naked eye.
Researchers from Imperial College London, led by Professor Molly Stevens and Dr. Roberto de la Rica, have created a sensitive sensor that can offer visible test results for early stage diseases like prostate cancer and HIV.
The sensor does this by
. It analyzes serum from blood in a container and looks for biomarkers like Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer or p24 for HIV. If a result is positive, irregular clumps of nanoparticles are formed and create a blue color in the solution within the container. If the result is negative, the nanoparticles separate into balls and give off a red color in the solution. Both colors can be seen by the naked eye.
"We have developed a test that we hope will enable previously undetectable
and indicators of cancer to be picked up, which would mean people could be treated sooner," said de la Rica. "We also believe that this test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world."
But that's not all. The sensor can detect positive results in those with "low viral loads," meaning an earlier diagnosis (hence, earlier treatment) than traditional tests like the Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test.
The test can be altered to
detect other diseases
as well, but more research and testing is needed in order to get the sensor to low-income countries.
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