PULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers at Washington State University have developed a smartphone spectrometer that detects a known cancer biomarker.
“With our eight-channel spectrometer we can put eight different samples to do the same test, or one sample in eight different wells to do eight different tests,” said Lei Li, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, in a statement. “This increases our device’s efficiency.”
A spectrometer measures the amount and type of chemiclas in a sample by the light spectrum. Although smartphone spectrometers exist, they can only monitor or measure a single sample at a time. The WSU team, however, created an eight-channel smartphone spectrometer that uses a common test called ELISA, or colorimetric test enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The test identifies antibodies and color change as disease markers.
The WSU-developed smartphone spectrometer has been able to detect standard lab-controlled samples of interleukin-6, a known biomarker for lung, prostate, liver, breast and epithelial cancers, with up to 99% accuracy.
“The spectrometer would be especially useful in clinics and hospitals that have a large number of samples without one-site labs, or for doctors who practice abroad or in remote areas,” said Li. “They can’t carry a whole lab with them. They need a portable and efficient device.
The device costs less than $150, said the researchers.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and a WSU startup fund.