“Caitlyn talks science”: Revolutionizing medical diagnoses?

With the growing demand for faster, more efficient and less expensive diagnosis techniques, particularly in developing countries, research on new biosensing technology and an accompanying phone application has the potential to bring identification of diseases such as HIV and E. coli into everybody’s home.

Scientists at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), in conjunction with Harvard and Stanford University, created this new diagnostic method from cellulose paper and polyester films, both of which are, most importantly, inexpensive and lightweight. The material takes in a drop of blood to detect pathogens from plasma, serum and peritoneal fluid. A phone application works with the biosensing platform and analyzes images of blood to discern bacteria and disease that can be quickly sent and reviewed worldwide.

Because the tools are cost-effective, do not require professionals, and can be applied to many environments, they can be mass distributed in the same way as pregnancy tests and glucometers. This is a stark change from current, costly  – both money and time wise – methods.

“There is a dire need for robust, portable, disposable and inexpensive biosensing platforms for clinical care, especially in developing countries with limited resources,” co-first author Waseen Asghar of FAU said in a Science Daily article. The research, titled “Paper and Flexible Substrates as Materials for Biosensing Platforms to Detect Multiple Biotargets,” was published in Nature Scientific Reports.

Corresponding author Utkan Demirci, in the same Science Daily article, addressed the possibilities attached to the implementation of smart phone technology in the medical sector. “The future of diagnostics and health monitoring will have potentially cellphone based or portable readers sipping saliva or blood and continuously monitoring human health taking it way beyond where we are with counting steps today,” Demirci said.

With broad applications in many other fields, including drug development, environment monitoring and food safety, this technology developed at FAU and partner universities will prove invaluable due to its potential.

Read the full article at www.ScienceDaily.com.

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