TAIPEI: A research team in Taiwan has developed a chip with nanoparticles that can detect proteins related to cancer in around half an hour, reported Xinhua news agency.
The research, led by Jen Chunping from Taiwan’s Chung Cheng University, was published recently in the international journal Biomicrofluidics.
Jen said that people with cancer have some specific proteins in their bodies, which are called tumour markers.
However, the proteins cannot usually be detected until they are in a large concentration during the middle and later stages of cancer.
The new technology can detect tumour markers in the bloodstream of cancer patients when they are still in the early stages of the disease.
Furthermore, cancer screening in general hospitals usually takes at least one day to test different bodily substances, while the chip requires just five microlitres of blood or urine.
Jen said that the chip, which took five years to develop, will be fitted into a handheld medical device that can also be used in the detection of other diseases.
Developers are working with a Russian research team on a three-year plan to use similar technology to detect Alzheimer’s disease.
The chip works at a low voltage of about 36 volts, so that it can use general-purpose batteries or household electricity to analyse samples.