While they say early detection is one of the best ways to combat cancer, a lot of people – especially those in poorer countries – can’t afford the expensive medical checkups required to detect the disease, assuming they have access to such facilities in the first place. Well, an engineering researcher and global health expert from Michigan State University is trying to solve this problem by creating a low-cost, hand-held device for such nations.
Called the Gene-Z device, it will work in conjunction with an iPod Touch or Android-based tablet to perform genetic analysis on microRNAs (single-stranded molecules that regulate genes; changes in microRNAs have been linked to cancer and other health-related issues) and other genetic markers. The Gene-Z is also small, portable, and powered by a battery (that is chargeable by solar power) – not to mention cheap, which makes it perfect for low-income, resource-limited countries.
No word on when we’ll start seeing the Gene-Z on the market, but it’s being tested right now and developed to diagnose other diseases as well. Cheap healthcare, affordable by everyone – what’s there not to like? The next step is reducing the cost of cures and medication.