A drop of salivaa portable test and five seconds could be the only thing needed to detect a breast cancer In the near future. Scientists from the University of Florida (USA) and the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University of Taiwan have created a hand-sized device that can find biomarkers of the disease from a small sample.
The essay, published in Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, and which has already been successfully tested in real patients, highlights the Save of time and money compared to other tests such as mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs. “Our device is an excellent option because it is portable and reusable. The testing time is less than five seconds per sample, which makes it very efficient,” explains the author of it, Hsiao Hsuan Wana chemical engineer studying her doctorate in Florida.
The young woman, who focuses her thesis on the creation of this device for which she has already applied for a patent, explains that “in many places, especially in the developing countriesit may not be easy have advanced technologies, such as MRI, to detect breast cancer.
THE NUMBERS OF BREAST CANCER
In 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide and 685,000 died from the disease. At the end of that year, 7.8 million women who had been diagnosed with the disease in the previous five years were still alive, making this cancer the most prevalent cancer in the world. In Spain, 35,001 new cases were diagnosed in 2023.
Source: WHO / Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM)
Hence the tireless search for a more accessible diagnostic test. “Our technology is more cost-effective: the test strip costs only a few cents and the reusable circuit board has a price of five dollars (4.66 euros)”, she points out and is enthusiastic about being able to “achieve a significant impact in areas where some people may not have resources.”
The biosensor created by Wan and his team only needs a drop of saliva to grant accurate results, even if the concentration of the cancer biomarker is very low, such as one billionth of a gram. Additionally, the design uses widely available componentssuch as common glucose test strips and programming platform Arduino (development company software and hardware) open source.
The revolutionary diagnostic test uses paper test strips treated with specific antibodies that interact with specific cancer biomarkers. Through a mechanism based on pulses of electricity, the saliva sample reveals how much of the breast cancer biomarkers are present in the carrier. “We have created a technique that has the potential to help people around the world“says the author.