Swiss scientists create “biomedical tattoo” for early detection of cancer

The sensor, which changes color, gives the alert when you find signs of prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer, the most common.

Scientists at the Federal Polytechnic School of Zurich (EPFZ) have developed a ” biomedical tattoo ” that, under the skin, allows four types of cancer to be detected early before conventional testing reveals the disease.

A team led by Martin Fussenegger, MD, of the Department of Biosystems at EPFZ, developed this sensor, which changes color – hence its “tattoo” name – and gives warning when it finds evidence of prostate, lung, colon cancer and breast, the most common.

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Research has been done on mice and pigskin for the time being, and experts recognize that it should take considerable time – at least ten years – before the product is ready to enter the market.

The EPFZ has indicated that in order to move in that direction, it is necessary to continue with clinical and developmental tests that are particularly laborious and expensive, something that the research group cannot fund.

Cited in the EPFZ communiqué, Fussenegger considered that the concept of “biomedical tattooing” would also apply to other gradually evolving diseases, such as degenerative pathologies and hormonal disorders.

About the way the method works explained that the sensor is composed of a genetic network that is placed in human cells and that is in an implant, that can measure the rate of calcium in the blood.

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When this rate exceeds a limit established over a prolonged period, a series of signals generated by the production of endogenous pigment in the genetically modified cells are activated, which in turn causes that the stain originated by the probe darkens, thus giving the alert to the carrier.

Fussenegger said the spot “does not mean that the person will die soon,” on the contrary, since an early detection of the disease increases the possibility of survival.

In the case of breast cancer, only one in four affected women can be cured if the disease is detected late, compared to 98% if it is detected quickly.

In the case of prostate cancer, the cure rate is currently 32% and that of the colon is 11%.

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