Mar 10, 2016

Promise of simple point-of-care diagnosis of cancer and other diseases

Scientists in Singapore have developed an optical device that could bring on-the-spot diagnosis for some cancers and other diseases closer to becoming a reality, it’s been reported this week.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore says it has built a compact optical device to quickly and sensitively recognise biomarkers in urine.

Newly discovered biomarkers called microRNAs can be used to diagnose some cancers and cardiac disease, and because they survive well in urine, A*STAR says they may well be useful for rapid, point-of-care diagnosis.

A team of microelectronics specialists at the agency has developed a a photonic biosensor that can detect tiny changes in the phase of a laser beam caused by hybridisarion between an immobilised DNA probe and microRNAs in a urine sample.

The device was able to detect cases of bladder cancer within 15 minutes and the team is now working to further improving the sensitivity of the device.


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