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Tiny Device to 'Sniff Out' Disease
Tel Aviv University's biosensor
sniffs out disease and pollution;
© American Friends of Tel Aviv Univ.
"Biosensors are important for the bio-terror industry, but are also critical for detecting pathogens in water, for the food industry, and in medical diagnostics," says Prof. Rishpon.
What makes her invention particularly appealing is its small size and the fact that it can be easily connected to a handheld device like a Blackberry or iPhone for quick and reliable results. An electrical signal will pulse "yes" for the presence of a test molecule and a "no" for its absence.
Currently, clinical researchers are testing its application in cancer diagnostics, focusing on the detection of proteins associated with colon and brain cancer and efficacy of anticancer drugs. But the device is capable of detecting various types of substances. "It really depends on what you put at the end of the electrode," says Prof. Rishpon.
"You can put enzymes, antibodies or bacteria on my electrodes to sense the existence of a chemical target. Then we can measure the amount of the target, assessing its potency by using additional enzymes or by looking at the changes of the electrochemical properties on the device," she says.
Enzymes released before the onset of a heart attack can also be detected, so this application has obvious uses in an operating room to give a physician warning of an impending attack during a procedure. It could be fitted into an implant like a pacemaker or another future device to alert the user to impending dangers, thus preventing sudden death.
MEDICA.de; Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University