Breast cancer can now be detected at an early stage using a new device developed by researchers in Mexico's Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM). It is a quick test that uses saliva sample and can be performed at home.
Ximena Estefania Olvera Rocha, Conacyt scholar, during her masters in biomedical engineering, carried out a thesis project jointly with Miguel Cadena, developing a device with chemical, enzymatic and optical sensors to detect breast cancer at an early stage and monitor post-operative condition, Spanish news agency Efe reported.
Nikola Batina, researcher at UAM's Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering Laboratory and Olvera's supervisor, said they chose saliva samples as these could be obtained easily and are non-invasive.
"We wanted a nanobiosensor that can be used by a person every six months and be at peace. A drop of saliva could make all the difference between sleeping well or not," Batina said.
One major advantage of the device is that the test takes no more than 10 minutes and can be performed at home.
"Our philosophy is that it has to be accessible. It does not require specific clinical apparatus and the result 'positive' or 'negative' is based on the colour that shows on the device," she explained.
This sensor is also important for patients in the post-operative period, after a metastasis treatment, helping them know if the cancer will return, or not.
Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of breast cells and is more common among women.
According to the World Health Organisation, incidences of breast cancer are globally on the rise, Conacyt said in the statement.