Sensor to Detect Tumours Could Reduce Need for Additional Surgery

  • Nov 07th, 2015
  • Guy Paterson

In co-operation with the Forschungzentrum in Germany, researchers from the University of Southern Australia have created sensors to detect the presence of tumorous cells hiding among healthy cells within lymph nodes during surgery to more accurately appraise the need for and scope of additional surgery.

The technology, which relies of nanostructured silicon field-effect transistors, is a brand new, hour-long alternative to the traditional and antiquated method of collecting and conducting pathological tests on samples taken during surgery, which, along with being cumbersome, less accurate, and taxing upon laboratory resource, can take up to a week to yield result. Furthermore, the new technology is accurate to such a degree that it can detect quantities as small as one cancerous cell per lymph node among healthy tissue.

This technology, while certainly applicable to all types of cancer, has particular promise in relation to breast cancer, where its application could spare patients additional surgery and its associated trauma in up to 40% of cases, according to Associate Professor Benjamin Theirry of the University of Southern Australia.

While the technology is in its infancy, Assoc. Prof. Theirry estimates that full validation of the technology could happen in as little as 2 to 3 years, with numerous potential partners expressing interest in its commercial development.

The research for the technology was initially published in ACS Nano and can be found online at (


Guy Paterson

Add A Comments