Researchers have created the prototype for a handheld device to measure a biomarker for cancer. The device works much like the monitors that people with diabetes use to test their blood-sugar levels and could be used in a medical clinic or at home, all without lab work, greatly simplifying the process for testing blood for cancer’s signature.
A user would mix a droplet of blood in a vial of reactive liquid, then place the mixture onto a strip and insert it into a reader. In minutes, the device would measure an antigen that indicates the degree to which cancer is present. The prototype has been designed to monitor prostate specific antigen (PSA) and the technology can readily be adapted to measure other markers, depending on the form of cancer or other chronic disease.
The ability to collect such information at home would make the daily lives of patients much easier while also generating accurate, shareable, up-to-the-minute results to guide their doctors in shaping care and treatment —all at a lower cost to the healthcare system. The device would also allow patients to continue to monitor their health after treatment.
The device would make monitoring much more accessible and cut down on the number of times patients need to leave home to provide blood samples. Since the device is more accessible and user-friendly than conventional technologies, patients will be more willing to use it, which can improve clinical outcomes and save lives.
The invention will need to be tested more broadly before earning the regulatory approvals that would permit commercial manufacturing.