Catching cancer early by chasing it

Aug 01, 2013

Reaching a clinic in time to receive an early diagnosis for cancer—when the disease is most treatable—is a global problem. And now a team of Chinese researchers proposes a global solution: have a user-friendly diagnostic device travel to the patient, anywhere in the world.

As described in the journal Biomicrofluidics, which is produced by AIP Publishing, a team led by Gang Li, Ph.D., from Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is developing a portable device for point-of-care to detect cancer at its earliest stages. It identifies , which are biological indicators of the disease that often circulate in the blood prior to the appearance of symptoms.

The new device is based on microfluidics—a technology that has rapidly expanded over the past decade and involves miniature devices that tightly control and manipulate tiny amounts of fluids for analysis through channels at the micro- and nano-scales.

Researchers value microfluidic technology for its low cost, speedy analysis of fluids and non-turbulent flows, and small footprint, Li said.

Inexpensive and easy-to-use, the Li team's device eliminates the need for an external power supply by relying on a specially fabricated pump to sample reagents and move fluids through microchannels.

"Our device is well suited to helping early diagnosis in resource-limited settings where no mechanical pumps or power sources are readily available because it is portable, affordable, sensitive, and specific, and delivered by technology with a user-friendly analytical platform," Li said.

He noted that the specialized pump can be prepared in advance and stored in an air-tight package. To further suit it to low-tech, rural or field conditions of use, the device allows users to read results with the naked eye or a digital camera, eliminating the need for any expensive and complicated equipment.

Explore further: Ionic liquids open door to better rare-earth materials processing

More information: The article, "Direct Detection of Cancer Biomarkers in Blood Using a "place n play" modular PDMS pump" by Honglian Zhang, Gang Li, Lingying Liao, Hongju Mao, Qinghui Jin and Jianlong Zhao appears in the AIP Publishing journal Biomicrofluidics. dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4807803

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Scent device' could help detect bladder cancer

Jul 08, 2013

Researchers from the University of Liverpool and University of the West of England, (UWE Bristol), have built a device that can read odours in urine to help diagnose patients with early signs of bladder cancer.

Nanostructured sensors power novel cancer detection system

Jul 05, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Using a sensor made of densely packed carbon nanotubes coated with gold nanoparticles, a researcher team headed by James Rusling of the University of Connecticut has developed a low-cost microfluidic device ...

An environmentally friendly battery made from wood

Jul 24, 2013

Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. Their ...

Research leads to portable DNA testing device

Jul 09, 2013

(Phys.org) —More than 10 years of research and development have led to the introduction of a portable DNA analysis device that relies on technology developed by University of Virginia professor James P. ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.