Researchers at the University of North Texas (UNT), Denton TX, and the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, are creating a chemical sensor device that detects cancer at an early stage.

The new device senses cancer biomarkers.
(Credit: UNT)

The chemosensor, a thin polymer film, finds molecules of neopterin, a chemical compound found in human body fluids. An increased presence of neopterin, produced by the immune system, often indicates a medical problem.

Early detection of several types of cancer is still a challenge, as tumors develop over a period of time without noticeable symptoms. According to the UNT team, the sensor enables diagnostic tests that could be performed at home on a regular basis.

"This new approach involves developing special recognizing materials prepared by molecular imprinting technology," said Francis D'Souza, a University Distinguished Research Professor in UNT's Department of Chemistry.

Three-dimensional cavities, placed within the polymer, allow selective binding and subsequent detection of the target cancer biomarker.

The University of North Texas developed the polymer. The research is being conducted in Warsaw, with the help of a grant from the National Science Centre.