Scientists from the Imperial College London were able to develop an ultra-sensitive sensor that will allow doctors to detect the early stages of diseases with their naked eye. The newly developed sensor, which is still a prototype, is reportedly ten times more sensitive than the current methods today. This allows doctors to detect the onset of diseases such as prostate cancer and other virus infections, and even HIV.
Essentially, the sensor works by analyzing serum, a protein-rich liquid that separates when blood coagulates. Positive and negative reactions can then be viewed easily by the naked eye. The scientists believe that the new sensor will greatly help other countries without the necessary equipment and technology to treat its patients. So far the sensor was able to detect a biomarker called p24 in blood samples, which actually indicates HIV. In another series of tests conducted, the sensor was also able to detect a biomarker called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which is an indicator for Prostate Cancer.
“We have developed a test that we hope will enable previously undetectable HIV infections and indicators of cancer to be picked up, which would mean people could be treated sooner. We also believe that this test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world,” said Dr. Roberto de la Rica of Imperial College London.
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