Using biosensors to remotely monitor health in the home
A nano-sensor that detects biomarkers in urine or saliva samples could detect cancer at the earliest possible stage and save millions of lives. This is the hope of engineers at Swansea University where work is being conducted to develop a new kind of biosensor made of graphene grown on a silicon carbide substrate using silicon sublimation.
With prostate cancer, early detection can greatly enhance the chance of survival. The disease is the second most common killer of men in the UK, but there is approximately a better than 70 per cent chance of successful treatment if it is detected early.
Dr Owen Guy, who is leading the research programme sees the technology as a potentially ‘revolutionary’ healthcare solution. In the future he believes these devices could be used for diagnosing and monitoring not only in hospitals and GP’s offices but also remotely at the point of care. He added that mobile monitoring systems, which transmit a signal to a hand-held readout display, could allow patients to remotely transmit information on conditions such as diabetes to doctors from their own homes.
Professor Dermot Diamond
Dermot Diamond received his Ph.D. and D.Sc. from Queen’s University Belfast. He has published over 240 peer-reviewed papers in international journals, is a named inventor in 13 patents, and is co-author and editor of three books. He is currently director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University, and a Principle Investigator in CLARITY, a major SFI funded research initiative focused on wireless sensor networks.
At the Institute of Nanotechnology’s forthcoming major Conference Advanced Technologies for an Ageing Population in Glasgow on 23/24 March 2010, Professor Diamond will describe sensing capabilities from indirect sources that will be implemented in every home over the coming decade (utilities monitoring) and will discuss more direct sensing of health and activity based on wearable sensors as well as considering those societal, legal and ethical issues that could present challenges to the adoption of these important technologies.
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