How microchips could help detect prostate cancer
Professor of Electronic Engineering Andrew Flewitt is working with researchers at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre on a more accurate PSA blood test to detect prostate cancer.
At present, the test has limitations for diagnosis and has to be sent off to central labs for the results, a process which can take up to five days. But a collaboration between the Department of Engineering and CRUK Cambridge Centre is researching the development of a new test which, it is hoped, could in future be available in GP surgeries and return immediate results.
Professor Flewitt and academic urological surgeon Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam, who co-leads the CRUK Cambridge Centre Urological Malignancies Programme, are using FBAR sensor technology in the new PSA test. FBARs are strips on a chip that measure the weight of different molecules. They can be used to measure the amount of different subtypes of PSA in a blood sample to identify more accurately whether or not the patient has prostate cancer – a reliable and cost-effective test, using bio-sensor technology, to be delivered in a primary care setting within the goal of the next five years.