Researchers have created a novel, low-cost biosensor to diagnose breast cancer less invasively compared to the existing needle biopsy approach.
The new biosensor chip is designed to identify a breast cancer biomarker called HER-2 in the blood within 15 minutes. It is combined with microfluidic technology with diagnostics, including electrochemical sensors and biomarkers, into a powerful package that can give results in about 15 minutes.
The biosensor chip was partially constructed using an inkjet printer, which layers nanoparticle inks onto a plastic surface to create an array of electrodes.
The printed biosensor chip was deposited into a pre-fabricated microfluidic device which directs fluids to flow in a controlled manner.
The biosensor can be used to measure levels of the protein Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER-2), which when found at abnormal levels indicate a specific breast cancer type.
The patient's blood sample flows through the microfluidic device and the sensor chip, which is coated with antibodies.
The antibody captures and immobilizes HER-2 proteins found within the sample. Researchers described HER-2 as the white filling of an Oreo sandwiched between two antibodies on the sensor chip.
Each cookie layer recognizes HER-2 as it is an antibody specific. To generate a measurable electrical signal that correlates to the amount of HER-2 protein present in the sample, a chemical solution flows over the 'HER-2 Oreo'.
The new biosensor is more accessible, less invasive, and faster diagnostic and is essential to improve healthcare.
It works in the clinically relevant range and has one of the lowest reported HER-2 detection limits, so fewer false positives and negatives will occur.