Posted on Feb 04, 2019, 4 p.m.
When taking a breathalyzer test you may not be thinking about it’s other uses, but what if detecting lung cancer could be just as easy? This is what University of Exeter scientists are trying to work towards, taking a new approach to e-nose technology integrated with multi-layered graphene for early detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer often does not display clinical symptoms of early stage lung cancer, which can lead to frequent late stage diagnoses and subsequent complications that bring dangers from the unrestrainable nature of abnormal cells that begin in the lungs and are prone to spread to other parts of the body quickly.
It is necessary to monitor specific markers present in exhaled volatile organic compounds for safety and quality of life reasons due to the severity of lung cancer. Cancer marker monitoring can be improved by finding methods for early stage diagnosis, such as developing 2D material based e-nose approaches with ultra sensitive and highly selective capabilities.
A team of scientists have developed a technique that may have created a highly sensitive graphene biosensor with capability to detect molecules of the most common lung cancer biomarkers to assist in early stage lung cancer diagnosis, as published in the peer reviewed journal Nanoscale.
The biosensors developed show graphene has potential uses as an electrode in e-nose devices, with suitable patterning graphene can be used as a specific, selective, and sensitive biomarker detector, says Ben Hogan, PhD.
Bare multi-layer graphene was demonstrated to be able to contribute to e-nose engineering, being able to detect the appearance of specific CMs in short times to provide high throughput platform for functional studies and discrimination of cancer signatures. MLG consists of a number of layers, permeated by various natural defects, exhibiting strong chemical affinity and specificity towards other atoms and molecules in its vicinity.
Results of electrical measurements for f-MLG and p-MLG electrodes while exposing three CM solutions of various concentrations were reported where they observed noticeable increase of electrical conductivity for p-MLG electrodes, especially during exposure to acetone; ethanol, isopropanol, and acetone in the range of 1.4-3.3 x 105 ppm.
The device displays potential to identify specific lung cancer markers at earliest stage possible in a convenient and reusable manner, making it cost effective and highly beneficial worldwide. Currently there are no simple, cheap, or widely available screening methods for early diagnosis of lung cancer, the team believes this could be a first step forward towards creating new, improved, and cost effective device to assist in the fight against cancer.
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