Queen's University develops amazing new disease detection technology

  • Researchers from Queen's University Belfast have developed an innovative and cost-effective nanoparticle sensor that can aid early detection of infection or disease, and can even detect spoiled food.

    Early detection of disease and detection has always been a major contributing factor to patient health outcomes, with many serious diseases and infections being much more easily treated if they're detected before they've progressed too far. Medical technology researchers are always looking for more sensitive and accurate tests for diseases in order aid early diagnosis.

    A group at Queen's has developed a new highly sensitive enzyme biomarker test that detects proteases, a strong indicator of microorganism infection and conditions such as diabetic kidney disease. This test can be used not only to detect problems in humans but also to diagnose health issues in livestock and detect spoiled meat and dairy products.

    Current methods for detecting proteases are not cost-effective for mass use in early diagnosis or food safety testing, so the researchers at Queen’s Institute for Global Food Security set out to design a cheap and effective nanosensor that can do the job better and for a fraction of the cost. The sensor is based on gold nanoparticles encased on a protein membrane which is broken down by the proteases, releasing the gold particles to catalyse a reaction that turns the sensor dye blue.

    Queen's researcher Dr Claire McVey explained the significance of this innovation: "Not only is the test cheap to produce, but it can be used anywhere and is not reliant on laboratory conditions. Eliminating the need to carry out tests in a laboratory setting is life-changing. As well as being cost-effective, it means faster diagnosis."

    Source: Queen's University Press Release

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