Department of Engineering / News / How microchips could help detect prostate cancer

Department of Engineering

How microchips could help detect prostate cancer

How microchips could help detect prostate cancer

Professor of Electronic Engineering Andrew Flewitt is working with researchers at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Cambridge Centre on a more accurate PSA blood test to detect prostate cancer.

A reliable and cost-effective test, using bio-sensor technology, is to be delivered in a primary care setting within the goal of the next five years.

At present, the test has limitations for diagnosis and has to be sent off to central labs for the results, a process which can take up to five days. But a collaboration between the Department of Engineering and CRUK Cambridge Centre is researching the development of a new test which, it is hoped, could in future be available in GP surgeries and return immediate results.

Professor Flewitt and academic urological surgeon Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam, who co-leads the CRUK Cambridge Centre Urological Malignancies Programme, are using FBAR sensor technology in the new PSA test. FBARs are strips on a chip that measure the weight of different molecules. They can be used to measure the amount of different subtypes of PSA in a blood sample to identify more accurately whether or not the patient has prostate cancer – a reliable and cost-effective test, using bio-sensor technology, to be delivered in a primary care setting within the goal of the next five years.

Both Professor Flewitt and Mr Gnanapragasam were filmed by the BBC earlier this month and the interview featured on BBC Breakfast, BBC Look East (above) and BBC One – Sunday Politics East.

This article has been edited from the CRUK Cambridge Centre website.

The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page. For image use please see separate credits above.