With the advent of 21st century, there is an incredible advancement observed in the field of medicinal science. Now, there is another good news for those suffering from Liver Cancer.
In a research conducted by the group of scientists from the University of Utah, the crew developed a rapid portable screening test for liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) that doesn’t involve sending a specimen to a blood lab and cuts the wait time for results from two weeks to two minutes.
On the top of everything, this is an inexpensive test that costs about USD 3 once, can be administered wherever the patient is, which will be particularly valuable in developing nations with little access to the hospital. Until now, the testing for liver cancer has involved lab-based blood tests and ultrasound imaging, both of which require traveling to major cities and can often cost more than a month’s salary in low-middle income countries.
Meanwhile, the University of Utah’s chemical engineering and chemistry professor Marc Porter along with his group revealed, “If we can develop a rapid test that performs at a high level of clinical accuracy. Then we’ve got something that can have an impact on human lives.”
They even added that the test can be easily modified to detect infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease that can be life-threatening.
All that is required for the test is a small domino-sized plastic cartridge containing a paper membrane that selectively traps biomarkers (proteins specific to a certain disease) from biological fluids. A small droplet of blood, saliva, or urine, or even a teardrop, from the patient is dropped onto the membrane.
After this, the droplet of gold nanoparticles which tags the biomarkers is trapped in the membrane. If the biomarkers are present, a red spot appears, signaling the patient has the disease and should seek more testing and possible treatment.
Nano Institute of Utah’s research associate, Jennifer Granger noted, “The concept is similar to a home pregnancy test, but instead of flowing laterally, it flows through the membrane.” The idea for the test is a spin-off of a similar test Porter developed eight years ago that astronauts on the International Space Station used to test the cleanliness of their drinking water. She added, “This is a smarter offshoot of that.”
After all, now that the team has proven the concept with liver cancer and built a prototype test kit, researchers plan to evaluate the technology in Mongolia in spring of 2019, which has the highest rate of liver cancer in the world.
source: Journal Analytical Methods