Navigation Links
Tiny Sensor Could Spot Cancer Early

Device is one of many innovations that may revolutionize care

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A small, cheaply produced device could hold the key to detecting cancer at its earliest and most curable stage, developers say.

Graduate students say they've created an acoustic sensor aimed at detecting minute amounts of mesothelin, a molecule associated with several cancers, in blood samples. But they stress that real-life applications are still a way off.

"We're still at an early stage. This is just past the proof-of-concept stage," said Anthony J. Dickherber, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. "Once this tool is fully developed, it probably will be most useful to clinical laboratories. We're trying to create a very cost-effective, disposable test that can detect very small amounts of a target in a very noisy medium [a blood sample] where you have parts per billion or parts per trillion of your target amid all these things."

Dickherber presented the findings at the American Association for Cancer Research's second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, being held in Atlanta.

A second study, also being presented at the conference, identifies a protein that may be an early warning sign for lung cancer.

Early detection is a holy grail of cancer research. The earlier a cancer is found, the more likely a cure will ensue.

Scientists are always busy identifying many new biomarkers that can detect cancer at its very earliest stages. However, these biomarkers are usually only found in very low concentrations. That means that not one, but multiple markers may be needed for an accurate diagnosis to be made.

"It's generally considered for most cancers that not one single golden target is going to tell you everything you need to know. It's very likely you will need to have multiple targets," Dickherber explained. "The idea is that a tool needs to detect multiple things at very low concentrations."

Dickherber and his colleagues developed the ACuRay (Acoustic micro-array) chip, a tiny device that should be able to be mass produced at low cost.

"Incredible advances in the past 30 to 40 years in microelectronic fabrication has driven costs down to be able to mass produce integrated circuits, so we were thinking there has to be a way to leverage that to make disposable sensors to detect things at low concentrations," Dickherber said.

The ACuRay is not unlike sonar. Tiny particles are resonating back and forth at a very high rate. When the molecule the scientists are trying to detect binds to the surface of the device, the particles slow down. "It's that difference that we can detect electrically," Christopher Corso, the other graduate student engaged in the project and an M.D., Ph.D. student, said.

The challenge now is to make them work for different, specific purposes.

"We probably still have a couple of months left of optimizing the design so that we can move on to looking for new targets and trying to detect them," Dickherber said.

"The reason for the optimization is to make the device as sensitive as possible," Corso added.

Cancer is one problem for which the device might provide a solution. But environmental hazards and bioterror could be others.

The second study also addressed the early-detection problem, this time specifically for lung cancer, the leading cancer killer in the United States.

The five-year survival rate for lung cancer, which is rarely detected early, is a very low 15 percent. But, if detection can be made early, survival rates of 50 percent have been seen.

Researchers from Panacea Pharmaceuticals of Gaithersburg, Md., have developed a blood test that targets a protein called human aspartyl (asparaginyl) beta-hydroxylase (HAAH), which appears on the surface of cancer cells and in the blood of people with cancer.

Ninety-nine percent of 160 patients with different stages and types of lung cancer had high levels of HAAH in their blood, as opposed to only 9 percent of nonsmokers without lung cancer.

"It would be very valuable to have an inexpensive test to recognize that someone has an increased risk of lung cancer," said Dr. Arthur Frankel, a professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of the Cancer Research Institute and the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Scott & White. "And, if you had markers that told you that if you had this marker, and you smoked, it was a bad thing, that would be very valuable. Many people are at increased risk because of genetics."

More information

There's more on the early detection of cancer at the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Anthony J. Dickherber, doctoral candidate, bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Christopher Corso, Ph.D./M.D. student, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta; Arthur Frankel, M.D., professor, internal medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director, Cancer Research Institute and the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Scott & White, Temple; presentations, Second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development, American Association for Cancer Research, Atlanta

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Biosensor chip to help drug development
2. ADHD improvement with sensory intervention
3. New sensors developed to predict effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment
4. Discovery of a built-in fat sensor
5. New Sensor Created For Lung Disorder Patients
6. Small Biosensor To Enable Cancer Detection
7. Chemical Signaling Helps Regulate Sensory Map Formation In The Brain
8. Brain Filters Sensory Information
9. Sensor Can Detect "Unhealthy" Molecules In Breath
10. Biosensor Chips to detect Urinary Tract Infections
11. New Sensor To Monitor Oxygen Deprivation In Babies During Birth
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... While conventional walkers afford considerable help with mobility, ... exercise weights. Fortunately, an inventor from Uniontown, Pa., has found a way to address ... benefits of a standard walker to improve the user’s quality of life. To begin ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... ... exchange technology and teleradiology services, has added Chris Hafey and Claude Hooton to ... at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 Annual Meeting and continues ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question ... from last year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. ... retirement age and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... most effective ways to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings ... Researchers at University Hospital Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set of ... With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any FCPX ... Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ease ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... -- Strengthening its leadership in connected healthcare informatics, Royal ... IntelliSpace Portal 8.0 , the latest edition of its ... radiologists detect, diagnose and follow-up on treatment of diseases. ... America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in Chicago, ... changing demands in radiology that result from an increasing ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... --  Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) revealed a ... Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA), beginning ... Chicago . Visitors to the Philips ... of integrated Diagnostic Imaging, Clinical Informatics, Image Guided Therapy ... workflow and create a superior patient experience. ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... CHICAGO and NUREMBERG, Germany ... annual meeting, innovation leader Ziehm Imaging invites attendees to ... technology on the market. The highlight on display is ... with flat-panel technology that provides a 16 cm edge ... Ziehm Vision RFD Hybrid Edition, the first fully motorized ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: