Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are aiming to develop a cutting edge technology for detecting diseases in humans exposed to environmental contaminants.
Lead researcher, Dr. Stephen Rappaport said that presently, "the ability to characterize the health risks of environmental contaminants, and to understand the influence of genetic variability is limited, because tests are cumbersome".
"To get conclusive information now would require careful collection and processing of blood samples from thousands of people over time, and that is prohibitively expensive," he said.
"What we're trying to do is develop technology that will allow a large number of subjects to be tested and screened quickly and inexpensively," he added.
Dr. Rappaport said the project would focus on the use of protein adducts, which are compounds formed by reactions between blood proteins and chemical carcinogens, to identify initiators of human lymphomas.
Technology will be developed for genetic analysis on single cells to identify biomarkers for early signs of leukaemia and lymphoma, he said.
Finally, a project to develop biosensors to reduce immunoassays to a microscale level would also be initiated, he added.