A Device to help in early detection of Cancer

Every 6thdeath in the world is because of cancer, making the disease the second leading cause of death worldwide only next to cardiovascular diseases. In the year 2016, 8.9 million people have died from the various forms of cancer. Therefore early detection can considerably decrease the percentage of fatality because of cancer. Now with the development of the device, we can hope to check and kill the deadly disease.

The device known as MEMS Capacitive Sensor is developed by Kolkata based Dr. Madhurima Chattopadhyay, Professor of Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering and by her students Debjyoti Chowdhury and Sriparna Sahu, Department of Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering at Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata. Recently ISRO Indian Space Research Organisation has joined hand with Heritage Institute of Technology for this purpose a MoU has been signed between Semi-Conductor Laboratory, Mohali, which is a research institute of the Department of Space, Government of India and Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata to enable the development of the foresaid sensor.

The device will be used for the identification and quantitative detection of malignant cells in a known volume of human tissue sample through micro capacitive sensor. It determines malignancy using the electrical parameter of a human tissue cell rather than the biological parameter, which enables early detection.

The standard methods used for single cell cancer detection are (i) Impedance flow cytometry, (ii) Electroporation, and iii) Electro-rotation. Among these three, electroporation is the most popular one. This work develops a MEMS sensor to miniaturize the method of electroporation on 100µm x 100µm electrode arrangement to achieve ionic diffusion through cell membrane of the tissue under test.  In this system, as the detection of malignancy is done by non-biological parameter which enables the device to carry out fast, early stage detection of cancer than the current detection procedures as literature/subsequent tests suggest that non-biological parameters of an affected tissue show significant changes even before biological parameters (i.e. cell life, hardness of cell membrane etc).

The prototype takes in the sensor data and applies a Deep Neural Network (a form of Artificial Intelligence) to let the user know the state of malignancy. This device mostly aims the rural areas where preliminary diagnosis of such a disease can be done in a fast and cost effective manner, being a IoT device this will not require the help of any trained personnel to perform the tests. This detection procedure has also been found valid for prostate cancer tissue and malaria affected blood cells.

The invention is appreciated and received award from BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) in collaborated with SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions), a non-profit organization, which also provided seed grant to take this innovation to the next level.



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