UAH scientists develop early stage cancer detecting nanodevice

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The latest innovation in cancer research is being developed right here in Huntsville. Researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville are working on a device that could detect cancer in its earliest stages.

In started in 2005 when researchers at UAH's Optics Building asked the question, "Can we put a very intricate small sensor at the end of a fiber tip?"

In the years since, a team of scientists has developed a super-sensitive nanodevice that can detect the early signs of cancer and other diseases.

For many forms of cancer, levels of interleukin-6 in the bloodstream will increase. One test developed detects minute levels of IL-6.  The scientists are also developing tests for Prostate Specific Antigen.

"These types of inexpensive tests that are highly sensitive will hopefully allow doctors to provide more targeted treatment," said Dr. Robert Lindquist, Director of the Center for Applied Optics.

Not only do the researchers want to detect cancer early on, they want the process to be inexpensive and efficient, allowing users to bypass a laboratory.

"The earlier you can see there`s some sort of concern, the better of you can fight the thing," said Lindquist.

The team is currently seeking funding to continue to their research. They hope their work will be complete in the next 5 years.