Made in Turkey: Nanotech device hope for early cancer diagnosis

Published 12.12.2018 01:17
Updated 12.12.2018 08:00
Made in Turkey: Nanotech device hope for early cancer diagnosis

Two Istanbul Technical University (ITU) students have developed a device that can be used in the early detection of cancer.

Senior students Mehmet Tuğrul Birtek, 24, and Berke Erbaş, 23, at ITU's Mechanical Engineering Department have been working on a project on cancer diagnosis for two years now.

The students, who made significant progress in the project, developed a chip with a nanotechnology-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) device for early diagnosis of cancer.

Chosen as the first one among 229 projects at the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TÜBİTAK), the device will work like a sugar meter. In this way, it can determine whether a person has cancerous cells in their blood or not.

Birtek and Erbaş, who work from a private laboratory at the ITU Nanotechnology Research Center, spoke about their work with Anadolu Agency (AA).

Erbaş said that they have been working on this project for two years under the supervision of professor Levent Trabzon, an ITU faculty member.

Noting they developed a cancer diagnostic device as a result of their work, Erbaş said, "The device that we developed will make treatment personal, taking tests out from the laboratory environment. We try to develop the project [further] by working on it."

Erbaş pointed out that there is research on this subject around the world, "There is quickly-advancing investment [around this]. It is aimed that there will be cancer meters which are early-diagnostic devices like blood sugar meters in 5 to 10 years. People will perform their own tests, buying these devices from pharmacies. They will bring people to such a position that they can take precautions against cancer. We want to contribute to this technology by channeling it in Turkey. This portable device will be able to reach everyone's home and make early diagnosis against cancer after five to 10 years. The device will save lives with early detection. "

Referring to the chip they produced, Erbaş added, "We produced the chip using our own unique design. While the cost of a chip was between TL 200-250 ($37-46), we decreased it to TL 5-10 (under $2). People will buy the device and install the chip. They will change the chips after they use them. These chips can be taken from pharmacies. By improving the device, we will bring it to the size of sugar measuring devices. Our goal is that people can diagnose cancer with a single click without requiring expertise."

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