Sensitive Biosensor Can Diagnose Certain Cancers and Other Diseases in a Matter of Minutes

By: | April 6th, 2016

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Diseases like cancer, when detected in their early stages, have more treatment choices, and there is a good chance of complete recovery.

In a big breakthrough, researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore have developed a new biosensor that could provide on-the-spot diagnoses of certain cancers and other diseases.

This biosensor is a compact optical device that can help in detecting biomarkers in urine. Biomarkers known as microRNAs are the fragments of noncoding RNAs and are used for diagnosing various diseases. MicroRNAs are well-preserved in fluids such as urine and blood and are showing a great way of quickly testing for signs of trouble in the body.

Researchers have developed a silicon photonic biosensor which makes use of beams of light to detect minute changes caused by hybridization between an immobilized DNA probe and target microRNAs in a sample.

These observations help them get the clues of the presence of some types of cancer, cardiac disease, or any other serious health issues.

Researchers designed the sensor to be very lightweight and highly sensitive. It works without any other equipment and can provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

At present, only small-scale testing has been carried out. However, the team foresees a lot of potential in this device.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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