Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) developed a low cost device which is able to perform genetic analysis on microRNAs. The device, which is called Gene-Z, operates with an iPod Touch or Android-based tablet and can be charged using solar energy. This makes it a perfect tool to use in low-income and resource-limited countries. It makes it possible to screen for cancer markers in rural areas where the pathology department is far out of reach or non-existent.
Syed Hashsham, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MSU, worked together with Reza Nassiri of the Institute of International Health. He demonstrated the Gene-Z at the NIH Cancer Detection and Diagnostics Technologies for Global Health Conference last week.
Nassiri said in the press release:
“Cancer is emerging as a leading cause of death in underdeveloped and developing countries where resources for cancer screening are almost non-existent. Until now, little effort has been concentrated on moving cancer detection to global health settings in resource-poor countries. Early cancer detection in these countries may lead to affordable management of cancers with the aid of new screening and diagnostic technologies that can overcome global health care disparities.”
They will continue their collaboration to test and validate the device in the field. Other possibilities to explore in the near future include testing for markers to diagnose and monitor the treatment of infectious diseases.