Moscow scientists develop new early-stage diagnostics for cancer, HIV and more
11 Jun '15
Dmitry Fedyanin and Yuri Stebunov, two young scientists from the Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Lab at MIPT, a leading Russian university in Moscow, have developed what they call a nanomechanical sensor to identify chemical components of various substances, the MIPT website announced.
The device is said to be able to also pinpoint biological objects, such as the markers of viruses which appear as our immunity system responds to diseases like herpes, HIV, or all sorts of hepatitis. The new methodology is “much more refined and less costly than the diagnostics techniques that exist today,” the source claims.
The sensor is believed to be sensitive enough to also identify oncology markers that alert to the development of a malignant tumor in a patient. The developers say it can detect other most acute medical conditions at very early stages—before other techniques can identify them. This appears to be a very important move into the future of medical diagnostics.
The device itself is described in detail in the Scientific Reports journal. It looks like an optical chip. Unlike analog solutions, this device has no electrical chains and basically provides two simple parts: one is a photonic (plasma) nanostructured waveguide that controls optical signals, and the other is a nanobeam cantilever placed above the waveguide.
As the process starts, two signals travel along the waveguide; one sets the cantilever in motion, and the other reads out signals that contain information about the movements of the cantilever. By those movements the developers are said to be able to identify the chemical composition of a substance in which the chip is placed. ‘Sprinkled’ with the antibodies of a certain virus, the cantilever begins to ‘fish’ virus particles from the substance under study.