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Cancer detection is never been easier with smartphones!

Cancer detection is never been easier with smartphones!

Innovation 496 0 6 Download
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In Summary

  • Scientists developed a new method to detect cancer using your smartphone.
  • There are only slight modifications required in order to optimize the device to work as a diagnostic tool. 
Editor Posted by Ansheed

Again smartphone

It wasn’t too long since the biosensors are implemented with smartphones. At present, some high-end models of Samsung and iPhone have SpO2, heartbeat detector, etc. More are already been developed and waiting to jump into smartphones like Optical biosensors, NFC biosensors, and Surface Plasma resonance meter etc. It won’t be too long for you to drop down your notification bar to find your cholesterol, sugar, blood count etc. But scientists from State Washington University came up with an ingenious technology which allows the easy detection of cancer.  Yes, you heard it right. No intricate laboratory procedures required, one may collect the sample and check the risk of cancer anywhere, anytime.

Smartphones for cancer detection

As the technology progresses the need for faster and agile biosensors had led to the discovery of many electronic devices that has revolutionized the diagnosis. And it is the first time ever, a smartphone stepped into the cancer detection.  Scientists developed a smartphone spectrophotometer which has eight channels of detection and can analyze a sample using the light spectrum. In order to identify the cancer risks, the sensors checks for human interleukin -6 (IL-6) , a biomarker which implies the presence of cancer in lungs, breasts, prostate glands, and skin. But the present day smartphones can only detect a single sample at a time, but whereas the researchers aim at improvising the smartphones to check 8 samples at a time thereby improving accuracy and agility. The sample detection follows the colorimetric ELISA for identifying the biomarkers.

Scopes of improvement

The so far study is a thumbs-up for this bio-detector technique. In fact, the results are so amazing, that under the constraints of the lab the detections scored a 99% accuracy in giving correct results. But the team needs more work in order to make this detector work the similar in real life situation. The technique has an advantage that, 8 samples can be analyzed at a moment. This means either one can check 8 samples from the same person to improve the accuracy or check 8 different samples at the same time. This detector technology would benefit Doctors and diagnostic labs in the rural and remote parts of the world. Establishing high costs equipment would cost money and takes time, but a technology this simple would save time and money.

The future

Thanks to developing smartphone technology, the human task required behind optimizing a biosensor-smartphone association took less time and cost. The greatest advantage is that smartphone develop at a faster pace integrating  most mono-functioning equipment into them. That’s what happened with radio, music player, camera etc. A similar trend is started to observing in the biosensors too. In the next 100 years, smartphones would be smart enough to give you a detailed estimate of what you should eat, what you should avoid, what percent risk you are running to etc. More and more biosensors are expected to be integrated into a smartphone in the course of next decade. 


A multichannel smartphone optical biosensor for high-throughput point-of-care diagnostics. Wang LJ, Chang YC, Sun R, Li L. Biosens Bioelectron. 2016 Sep 9; 87:686-692. [PMID:27631683]