Current Students and Staff

// University News

15 Apr 2015

Loughborough University study harnesses the power of smartphone technology in the fight against cancer

A Loughborough University academic has developed what is believed to be the first in a new generation of rapid detection tests for prostate cancer – with the help of smartphone technology. 

In a study led by Dr Nuno Reis, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, the University research team successfully conducted a test for prostate cancer – the second most common cause of cancer in the male population worldwide – using a small sample of blood, a new affordable microfluidic test strip, and a smartphone camera. The full study has been published in the Biosensors and Bioelectronics journal

The portable device uses simple image analysis to monitor the levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen) – the most widely used prostate cancer biomarker – in a whole blood sample. It is a point-of-care and over-the-counter test that Dr Reis says has the potential to “revolutionise the healthcare system”, by making reliable lab and consumer test results accessible to everyone, even in remote areas of developing countries where laboratories are limited. 

A magnifying lens is attached to the smartphone camera in order to capture an image of a signal generated from the blood to determine the level of PSA in the sample. This is shown as a number, which the GP, for example, can then use to indicate to the patient whether he is at ‘high risk’ or ‘low risk’ of developing prostate cancer. The whole process takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. 

Read the press release for more information.