Medical diagnostics: the revolution may come from a transistor
Diagnosing diseases before the onset of symptoms through the detection of some specific markers. It could become possible thanks to a millimetre-sized transistor that can be produced on a large scale and at a low cost, able to detect a single protein, developed by a team of Italian researchers.
The study, published in Nature Communications and reviewed by Nature, is the result of a collaboration between the Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies of the National Research Council (CNR-IFN), University of Bari Aldo Moro, University of Brescia, and the National Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology (INSTM).
The new technology, called SiMoT-Single-Molecule with a Transistor, is extremely sensitive and can be used to detect any biomarker, such as antigens. “The sensitivity of the SiMoT technology, which can detect a single biomarker, is so high that it cannot be improved any further. It is therefore a world record”, said Luisa Torsi from University of Bari.
According to Gaetano Scamarcio, Director of CNR-IFN in Bari: “Our results promise to have important strategic implications for the future of medical diagnostics because the size and structure of the device allow for large-scale production at reasonable costs. The device is robust and reliable and therefore easy to use outside the laboratory”.
Among its many uses, according to the Italian researchers, the SiMoT technology can help doctors to monitor disease progression and recurrences and limit the use of invasive diagnostic procedures, such as biopsies, allowing them to make a diagnosis by simply detecting markers from biological fluids, such as blood, urine or saliva.