A device capable of spotting diseases in the tiniest drop of blood or urine has been developed by UK scientists. It is 10 times smaller than existing sensors and can detect a range of protein molecules associated with different diseases.
Christoph Wälti and Giles Davies and colleagues at the University of Leeds used electrodes instead of conventional glass slides to make their device.
The electrodes are only about 10 micrometers apart and could ultimately be made even smaller, they say.
Existing sensors use antibodies that bind to target proteins. But antibodies are unstable and become poorer at identifying disease proteins when attached to components within a sensor.
At present, scientists must also label proteins with fluorescent tags and then use optical techniques to detect them – a process that looks at just one protein at a time and is both complex and imprecise.