New York, May 22 (IANS) A team of researchers has developed, at the laboratory level, a prototype of a new biosensor to help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.
The development of this biosensor falls within the field known as liquid biopsy, which helps detect the presence of cancer through a blood test.
It is easy to use, low cost and provides results in a very short time — between 30 and 60 minutes — from a sample of the patient’s plasma, suggests the study published in the journal ACS Sensors.
Currently, mammography is the most widely used standard technique for diagnosis, but it has some limitations, such as exposure to radiation, and lower sensitivity and specificity in young women with dense breast tissue.
“Therefore, new diagnostic tools are needed to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Our biosensor is along these lines,” said researcher Ana Lluch from the University of Valencia in Spain.
According to the latest data collected by the European Cancer Information System (ECIS), 34,088 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2020 in Spain.
The biosensor is composed of a nanomaterial — a nanoporous alumina — that facilitates the detection in plasma of miR-99a-5p microRNA, which is associated with breast cancer.
Until now, this has been done by using complex and time-consuming techniques, which means that this system could not be used as a diagnostic tool in the clinical setting, the researchers said.
“The next step in our work will be validating our system in a larger group of patients,” the researchers noted.