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Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 30, 2012
An Indian researcher is part of a team that has created a biosensor for early detection of diseases such as cancer, besides assistance in seeking medicine tailored for specific biochemistries of patients.

For early diagnoses, the biosensor makes it possible to detect small quantities of DNA fragments and proteins deformed by cancer - long before it becomes visible on other devices.

Known as the Flexure-FET biosensor, it is equipped with a mechanical sensor that identifies biomolecules based on their mass or size and an electrical sensor that identifies molecules based on their electrical charge.

The new sensor detects both charged and uncharged biomolecules. "To overcome the limitations of existing technologies, we have proposed a new biosensor which integrates the key aspects of both electronic and mechanical techniques to achieve sensitivity that can't be attained alone in either one," said Ankit Jain, a Phd student at Purdue University and IIT-Kanpur alumnus.

Stating that the price tag of the proposed biosensor is still being worked on, Jain said most deaths are caused due to the late detection of diseases. "The ultimate goal of the proposed biosensor is to have cheap hand-held devices such as the thermometer and glucose meter for detection. People in remote areas of India do not have access to doctors. In such cases, hand-held devices integrated with mobile phones can be used for prescription of medicine."

Speaking on the time frame, he said: "It could take a few years for actually making it clinically viable." A patent application for the Flexure-FET biosensor has been filed in the US.