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Diagnostics

Scientists Develop Cancer-Detecting Microchip

16 years, 1 month ago

898  0
Posted on Sep 22, 2002, 11 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Researchers at the University of Berkeley have developed a microchip that can spot the first signs of prostate cancer by detecting proteins produced by the disease. The chip works by inducing proteins called PSA's, which are produced by prostate cancer cells, to stick to and bend a microscopic cantilever.

Researchers at the University of Berkeley have developed a microchip that can spot the first signs of prostate cancer by detecting proteins produced by the disease. The chip works by inducing proteins called PSA's, which are produced by prostate cancer cells, to stick to and bend a microscopic cantilever. Doctors are able to determine the level of these proteins by using a laser, which measures how far the cantilever has deflected - the greater the deflection, the greater the concentration of PSA's. Tests have shown that the chip is able to measure levels of PSA's 20-times smaller than those produced by prostate cancer, thus making the microchip far more sensitive than current methods of detecting the disease. The researchers believe the device could also be useful for the diagnosis of other diseases, such as AIDS or breast cancer, in which characteristic or disease-specific proteins are secreted into the blood or excreted in the urine.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Nature Biotechnology 2001; 21: 856-860

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