A chip capable of detecting cancer cells from “a very small sample of blood” with 90% effectiveness is under development in Mexico. The project is in charge of Kalaumari Mayoral Peña, engineer in Biotechnology, master in Food Science and Technology and current student of PhD in Biotechnology at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM).
The device works similarly to glucometers, but it can detect the presence of cancer in the blood sample. In the first stage, the device is only focus on breast cancer.
To achieve this, the device analyses each cell individually “using new biotechnological tools” to “gather valuable information that can later be used to develop better treatments and better diagnostic techniques,” said Kalamauri Mayoral.
“The unicellular analysis is part of a trend towards the development of more specific diagnostic techniques (…) I still do not have a parameter of effectiveness, but I hope it is 90%,” he added.
This technology enters in what is known as a lab-on-a-chip, which consists of miniaturizing conventional laboratory tests to obtain analysis or diagnostic systems that measure using very small samples.
The biggest advantage of this type of devices is that they are portable, require a small amount of sample and can perform different analyzes in a simple way. The chip of the Mexican is not bigger than a coin of five Mexican pesos.
Collaboration with Harvard
The development of this project opened the doors to Kalaumari Mayoral to opportunities of collaboration with both Mexican and foreign institutions such as the University of Harvard.
“I applied to a Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) program in an agreement with Harvard and they accepted me at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School,” he said. “This allows Tec (ITESM) students to conduct research stays of six months to one year.”
“The idea is to take advantage of the link with Harvard to learn about the cutting-edge research they do and enrich my doctoral project with valuable knowledge, skills and experiences acquired during the stay. It is a great opportunity to improve the microfluidic device that I am developing,” he added.
Source: Agencia ID