Current cancer screenings may be a thing of the past as Stellenbosch University professors work on a nano-electronic device that will detect cancer in a drop of blood. File picture.
Cape Town - Cancer screenings, mammograms and prostate exams may be a thing of the past as Stellenbosch University professors work on a nano-electronic device that will detect cancer in a drop of blood.

The nano-electronic biosensor currently being developed by electronic engineer Prof Willie Perold and Prof Resia Pretorius from the Department of Physiological Sciences, will be able to detect cancer at a faster rate and lower cost than current methods.

After years of research on coagulation and inflammation, Pretorius contacted Perold about collaborating on a device to detect a protein called serum amyloid A (SAA).

“Currently, we are working on the early detection of inflammatory conditions, such as cancer. Two of our projects investigate the occurrence of the SAA, which increases noticeably when there is inflammation in the body. With our biosensors we aim to pick up the onset of inflammation during the early stages,” said Perold.

The hand-held nano-electronic biosensor has been patented and they are now looking for funding Prof Pretorius confirmed that in full-blown stage 3 cancer, SAA levels are 1 000 times higher than normal, so a great increase in SAA is a sign that something is wrong.

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Cape Argus