Russian researchers have made a major breakthrough in detecting cancerous tumors using a highly sensitive nanomechanical sensor.
Produced at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology’s Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics, the ultra compact sensor allows doctors to identify tumor markers which signal the emergence and growth of cancerous tumors. The method can detect cancerous tumors long before all current conventional methods.
If early results prove to be correct, the sensor could also help diagnose other diseases like hepatitis, HIV and herpes long before they could be detected by any other method currently available and would pave the way for new-generation diagnostics.
Researchers’ calculations showed the new nanomechanical sensor combines high sensitivity along with comparative ease of production. Another advantage is its miniature size which would allow it to be used in portable devices like wearable electronics and smartphones with one chip, only a few millimeters in size, being able to hold several thousand sensors, all configured to detect different molecules or particles.
Because of the simplicity of its design, the devices which would contain the sensors would be much cheaper than any detection device currently available.
Being able to predict a cancer before it can start to spread or grow aggressively from its original location, would be a game-changer in cancer detection and treatment, allowing for an early warning system which would allow doctors to prescribe and administer drugs more accurately and sooner.
Experts say that earlier detection of cancer markers could be more effective in controlling cancer than actually finding a cure for the many forms of cancer which exist.
Daniel Roxbury, a research fellow at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York, who has also been researching and experimenting with nanomechanical sensors for cancer detection has said detecting biomarkers in the blood at a super low concentration, would save many lives as detecting cancer in later stages cuts the options for treatment.
As for his own work Roxbury has high hopes. He said “with the current treatments we have, I am pretty sure we can cure most cancers by detecting them early.”