Researchers Develop Biosensor for Better Cancer Diagnosis


Researchers developed a biological sensor for better diagnosis of cancer and epilepsy, according to a report published on March 15, 2019.

This development was made by researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Small molecules, ions, and protons can be monitored by using these sensors and play a major role as a medical diagnostic. A pH sensor was created by the researchers by integrating silicon nanoribbon transistor sensors with an antifouling lipid bilayer coating that contains proton-permeable carbon nanotube porin (CNTP) channels. Robust pH detection was demonstrated when the sensors where used in a variety of complex biological fluids.

The new biosensor is useful for real-time, label-free, highly sensitive detection of disease biomarkers, DNA mismatches, and viruses, and also can be implantable. To create the pH sensor, a robust channel, which is highly permeable to protons need to be incorporated into the lipid membrane. The research team had earlier demonstrated that narrow 0.8 nanometer CNTPs have extremely high proton permeability. 0.8-nm-diameter nanotube pores have extreme water confinement and this results in conditions that favor fast proton transport. Moreover, small pore size and high proton permeability also allows CNTPs to effectively block most of the fouling components of biological mixtures and prevent them from reaching the sensor surface.

Aleksandr Noy, lead of the research team said, “For each of these experiments, we have characterized the ability of our sensor to respond to variations in the solution pH values before and after continuous exposure to the different foulant mixtures. When the lipid bilayer incorporated CNTP channels, the pH response was preserved and showed very little signs of degradation.”



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Edwin Santos was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He has contributed to Discovery Magazine, Details and the Huffington Post. Edwin has also served as a commentator for NPR and MSNBC. As a journalist for Oak Tribune, Edwin mostly covers national news. Aside from earning a living as a freelance journalist, Edwin also works as photographer.