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NEWS
Sensor Nanotechnology Simplifies Disease Detection
April 1, 2011

Researchers at Stony Brook University have recently developed a new sensor nanotechnology that could revolutionize personalized medicine by making it possible to instantly detect and monitor disease by simply exhaling once into a small handheld device.


Dr. Krithika Kalyanasundaram, a former student at Stony Brook University and Professor Gouma's co-author on “Nanosensor Device for Breath Acetone Detection,” demonstrates the device. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook University.

The new research, “Nanosensor Device for Breath Acetone Detection,” was published by American Scientific Publishers in a recent issue of Sensor Letters. According to lead researcher Perena Gouma, Ph.D., an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, and her research team, the new nanomedicine tool is specifically designed to enable individuals to monitor signaling gas—such as acetone in exhaled breath—with their own inexpensive, non-invasive breath analyzer.

The ability to easily capture gases that detect disease early will empower individuals to take more effective control of their own health. And it will simplify the process of monitoring diseases like diabetes. Presently, blood is required to monitor diabetes, but this new process will enable individuals to test themselves by simply breathing once into the device.

There are over 300 compounds in the breath, some of which are established indicators of disease. The only way to be able to use these indicators is with very selective sensors for a particular gas. “That’s where the breakthrough in the technology has been,” explains Prof. Gouma. “We have been able to make low-cost sensors that mark one particular gas or one particular family of gases and discriminate against another.”

The project has been funded by the National Science Foundation and is presently in pre-clinical trials for use in diabetes.


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