Cancer-sensing devices built as cheaply and efficiently as wristwatches could change the way clinicians detect, treat and monitor cancer in patients.Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have designed an acoustic sensor that can detect the presence of small amounts of mesothelin, a molecule associated with mesothelioma and a number of other cancers, as they attach to the sensor’s surface.The study is a proof of principle, according to the researchers. It demonstrates a technique that may work for the detection of nearly any biomarker — a collective term for a molecular signal that denotes the presence of disease. “It is one thing to be able to identify biomarkers for a disease, but it is another to be able to find them in blood quickly and easily at very low concentrations,” said Anthony Dickherber, a graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. “We envision that, one day, doctors can use an array of our sensors as a sort of laboratory in their office, where they could use a quick blood sample to detect or monitor the signs of cancer.”
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