Device detects ovarian cancer through a drop of blood


Portuguese researchers are participating in an international project aimed at developing a portable device to diagnose ovarian cancer in a few minutes, and simply through a drop of blood.

This project was honored with the i3S Health Innovation Award Hovione Capital, an international award created this year by the investment company Hovione Capital and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S), worth 35 thousand euros. This distinguishes innovative ideas in the area of health.

The device uses small blood samples (two or three microliters) and makes it possible to obtain an analysis in a few minutes, according to researcher Inês Pinto of the Iberian International Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) in Braga, the Portuguese entity involved in the project.

The result is achieved by verifying the existence of an “innovative” biomarker, identified by this team of researchers. The technology is portable and has been developed by the team to be different from existing ones created in a hospital environment and allows for greater flexibility in monitoring a patient even after she has already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“It is not necessary to have a technologically-developed laboratory or a specialized technician to operate this new device since it can function as a simple and rapid test, which leads to a significant reduction of costs and allows a decentralization of services”, said the researcher.

And the diagnosis made with this device, which was developed in partnership with Swansea University College of Engineering and the NanoHealth Center in the UK, also allows patients to have “more appropriate” therapy. This device can be used with other biomarkers to detect other types of disease, said Inês Pinto.

According to the scientist, ovarian cancer is detected in more than 75% of the cases, already in advanced states, being thus associated a high mortality rate.The researchers were also distinguished by the “AntiBioCoat” project, developed by researchers at i3S, which proposes a new type of anti-adhesive coating for catheters, and the “Delox”, from the University of Lisbon, which presented a new process of peroxide vaporization of hydrogen for sterilization in a hospital environment.

Another of the winners was the “MagCyte”, from the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon, and the Institute of Systems and Computer Science, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), Porto, which consists of a new approach to cell detection carcinogens.

Also, a bionic device for dental application, which detects and informs about the pressure during mastication, called “SmartTooth” and created by IPO-Porto, by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the company GadgetWhisper, was distinguished.