A Harvard bioengineer and an MIT aeronautical engineer have developed a device that can detect individual cancer cells in blood sample, enabling doctors to identify if the cancer has spread from the original site.
The microfluidic device consists of carbon nanotubes coated with antibodies specific to cancer cells, which capture the circulating tumour cells from the blood sample.
According to researchers, the device can eventually be developed into a low-cost tests for doctors to use in developing countries, where the expensive diagnostic equipment is hard to come by.
The cancer device is being tested in several hospitals and may be commercially available in a few years.
The researchers are now working to develop the device for HIV diagnosis.