Nanotech used to build cancer-detecting microchip
Chip, tested on prostate cancer, detects type and severity of the disease
Computerworld - University researchers have used nanomaterials to develop a microchip they say has enough sensitivity to detect early stage cancer when it is most treatable.
Scientists at the University of Toronto reported today that the chip not only detects cancer but also can detect the type and severity of it. The chip, built with nanowires, is designed to sense trace amounts of cancer biomarkers, which are biologic molecules that indicate the presence or progression of a disease.
The university hailed the technology as the latest move in the advent of nanomedicine.
"Today, it takes a room filled with computers to evaluate a clinically relevant sample of cancer biomarkers and the results aren't quickly available," said Shana Kelley, a lead investigator on the project, in a statement. "Our team was able to measure biomolecules on an electronic chip the size of your fingertip and analyze the sample within half an hour. The instrumentation required for this analysis can be contained within a unit the size of a BlackBerry."
David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto and a professor of medicine, called "this remarkable innovation an indication that the age of nanomedicine is dawning."
Researchers increasingly have been using nanotechnology in their fight against cancer.
Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine announced last month that they are creating "nanobees" to fight cancerous tumors. They are using nanoparticles to deliver bee venom called melittin through the body to kill cancerous tumor cells. In an experiment with mice, the nanobees targeted such tumors and effectively halted their growth, and in some cases even caused them to shrink.
Also in August, researchers at MIT announced that they had used nanoparticles to deliver genes to kill ovarian tumors in mice . The researchers said the tests could lead to a new treatment for ovarian cancer.
And in May, MIT scientists disclosed the development of gold nanoparticles that can heat cancerous tumors enough to kill them while leaving surrounding tissue undamaged. The researchers said tumors in mice that received the gold nanorod treatment disappeared within 15 days and that the cancer did not recur during the duration of the three-month study.
At the University of Toronto, the microchip has so far been tested on prostate cancer, but is expected to detect other cancers, as well as to diagnose and assess other infectious diseases, like HIV and the H1N1 flu.
"Uniting DNA -- the molecule of life -- with speedy, miniaturized electronic chips is an example of cross-disciplinary convergence," said Ted Sargent, an engineering professor and another lead investigator in the project, in a statement. "By working with outstanding researchers in nanomaterials, pharmaceutical sciences, and electrical engineering, we were able to demonstrate that controlled integration of nanomaterials provides a major advantage in disease detection and analysis."
Read more about App Development in Computerworld's App Development Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts