Implantable Device Offers Continuous Cancer Monitoring

(PhysOrg.com) -- Surgical removal of a tissue sample is now the standard for diagnosing cancer. Such procedures, known as biopsies, are accurate but offer only a snapshot of the tumor at a single moment in time.

Building biological computers

New research shows that genetically modified cells can be made to communicate with each other as if they were electronic circuits. The study is a groundbreaking step toward building complex systems where the body's own cells ...

Modular platform for biosensor assembly

Tumor markers are biological substances, usually proteins, that provide early indication of cancerous or benign tumors in the body. 

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Biosensor

A biosensor is a device for the detection of an analyte that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector component.

It consists of 3 parts:

The most widespread example of a commercial biosensor is the blood glucose biosensor, which uses the enzyme glucose oxidase to break blood glucose down. In doing so it first oxidizes glucose and uses two electrons to reduce the FAD (a component of the enzyme) to FADH2. This in turn is oxidized by the electrode (accepting two electrons from the electrode) in a number of steps. The resulting current is a measure of the concentration of glucose. In this case, the electrode is the transducer and the enzyme is the biologically active component.

Recently, arrays of many different detector molecules have been applied in so called electronic nose devices, where the pattern of response from the detectors is used to fingerprint a substance. Current commercial electronic noses, however, do not use biological elements.

A canary in a cage, as used by miners to warn of gas could be considered a biosensor. Many of today's biosensor applications are similar, in that they use organisms which respond to toxic substances at a much lower level than us to warn us of their presence. Such devices can be used in environmental monitoring, trace gas detection and in water treatment facilities.

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