Detecting cancer at the most earliest of stages is a feat that scientists have been researching and developing for years. The microcavity biosensor is the most recent patented invention that has the technology to detect cancer at the most earliest of stages. The machine can detect a single cancer marker protein, which is one-sixth the size of the smallest virus, and even smaller molecules below the mass of all known markers.
The method behind the machine is fairly simple and is based on protein detection. “Proteins run the body,” explained the inventor, Stephen Arnold. “When the immune system encounters virus, it pumps out huge quantities of antibody proteins, and all cancers generate protein markers. A test capable of detecting a single protein would be the most sensitive diagnostic test imaginable.”
Arnold and his team are at the cusp for detection of health issues beyond cancer. Just months before their recent development they set the record for detecting the smallest single virus is a solution. This advancement has the revolutionary ability to detect diseases at early stages within a matter of minutes, as opposed to weeks. The innovative testing technique was developed by amplifying the sensitivity of a biosensor, in which researchers were able to detect the smallest RNA virus particle MS2, with a mass of only 6 attograms. “When the body encounters a foreign agent, it responds by producing massive quantities of antibody proteins, which outnumber the virus. If we can identify and detect these single proteins, we can diagnose the presence of a virus far earlier, speeding treatment,” Arnold said. “This also opens up a new realm of possibilities in proteomics,” he said, referring to the study of proteins. “All cancers generate markers, and if we have a test that can detect a single marker at the protein level, it doesn’t get more sensitive than that.”
The significant detection of single proteins may form a pathway for improved medical therapeutics. Arnold and his colleagues have also noted their ability to follow a disease marker protein signal is real time, in which they can track it’s actual movement. This tracking capability may result in a new understanding of how proteins attach to antibodies.