Researchers from the University of Exeter have developed a new technique that could create a highly sensitive graphene biosensor with the capability to detect molecules of the most common lung cancer biomarkers.

Graphene biosensor for early lung cancer diagnosis image

The new biosensor design could revolutionize existing electronic nose (e-nose) devices, that identify specific components of a specific vapor mixture—like a person's breath—and analyze its chemical make-up to identify the cause.

The research team believes the newly developed device has the potential to identify specific lung cancer markers at the earliest possible stage, in a convenient and reusable way—making it both cost-effective and highly beneficial for health service providers worldwide.

Ben Hogan, a postgraduate researcher from the University of Exeter and co-author of the paper explained: "The new biosensors which we have developed show that graphene has significant potential for use as an electrode in e-nose devices. For the first time, we have shown that with suitable patterning graphene can be used as a specific, selective and sensitive detector for biomarkers". "We believe that with further development of our devices, a cheap, reusable and accurate breath test for early-stage detection of lung cancer can become a reality".

Using patterned multi-layered graphene electrodes, the team members were able to show greater sensing capabilities for three of the most common lung-cancer biomarkers—ethanol, isopropanol and acetone—across a range of different concentrations.



The team believes this could be the first step towards creating new, improved and cheaper e-nose devices that could give the earliest possible lung-cancer diagnosis.

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