A few hundred dollars and 24 hours: That’s what’s required to scan biological materials for important biomarkers that signal diseases such as diabetes or cancer, using industry standard equipment. But suppose you wanted to monitor live cancer cells. For that you’d have to use an entirely different method. It takes just as long but requires a whole other set of expensive top-end instrumentation. Want to look at bacteria instead? Be prepared to wait a few days for it to grow before you can get a meaningful result.
Researchers face enormous time constraints and financial hurdles from having to run these analyses on a regular basis. To solve this problem, Tania Konry, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Northeastern University, has developed a single instrument that can do all of the scans mentioned above at a fraction of the time and cost. That’s because it uses considerably less material and ultra-sensitive detection methods to do the same thing.
Konry’s creation, ScanDrop, is a portable instrument no bigger than a shoebox that has the capacity to detect a variety of biological specimen. For that reason it will benefit a wide range of users beyond the medical community, including environmental monitoring and basic scientific research. READ MORE