Nanosensors that can detect early signs of disease from unprocessed whole blood are reported in a paper published online this week in Nature Nanotechnology. The sensors can be adapted for use with other physiological fluids, and are expected to be simple, quick and inexpensive enough to be used in the clinic, therefore avoiding the need for analysis by external labs.
Previous disease-marker detection work exposed nanosensors to carefully controlled purified solutions, rather than real physiological samples. The sensors developed by Mark Reed and colleagues combine separate purification and detection stages, allowing them to detect tiny amounts of cancer biomarkers in a small volume of whole blood in just 20 minutes.
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