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New 'dentist' test to detect oral cancer will save lives
Date:8/9/2010

techniques in microchip design, nanotechnology, microfluids, image analysis, pattern recognition and biotechnology to shrink many of the main functions of a state-of-the-art clinical pathology laboratory onto a nano-bio-chip the size of a credit card.

The nano-bio-chips are disposable and slotted like a credit card into a battery-powered analyser. A brush-biopsy sample is placed on the card and microfluidic circuits wash cells from the sample into the reaction chamber. The cells pass through mini-fluidic channels about the size of small veins and come in contact with "biomarkers" that react only with specific types of diseased cells. The machine uses two LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, to light up various regions of the cells and cell compartments. Healthy and diseased cells can be distinguished from one another by the way they glow in response to the LEDs.

The technology is also being considered for future research projects for diagnosis and management of heart attacks, diabetes and other diseases.

Professor Thornhill said: "This new affordable technology will significantly increase our ability to detect oral cancer in the future. Diagnosis currently involves removing a small piece of tissue from the mouth and sending it to a pathologist. This is typically done at a hospital, can take a week or more and involve extra visits for the patient. With the new technology, a brush would be used to painlessly remove a few cells from the lining of the mouth that would be analysed within minutes in the presence of the patient, so that the patient would know the result before leaving the clinic.

"This technology will make it easier for us to screen suspicious lesions in the mouth and separate non-cancerous lesions from those where there is a risk of cancer and those where cancer has already developed. We have just started to recruit patients to a study that is designed to ensure that the new technology is at least as good as the old met
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Contact: Lauren Anderson
l.h.anderson@sheffield.ac.uk
01-142-221-046
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert

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