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A new low-cost, paper-based method of disease detection could lead to earlier diagnoses and treatments, and could be particularly beneficial to people living in undeveloped, rural areas.
The test could detect cancer from a urine sample within minutes, as well as a host of other diseases. The method works in conjunction with nanoparticles coated with peptides that trigger tumor proteins to release biomarkers, which can be easily detected in the patient's urine.
However, the test could be adapted to be paper-based, without the need for specialized equipment. It is possible by coating paper strips with antibodies to catch the peptides, which then move along the strip over several invisible test lines. The lines, made of antibodies specific to the different tags attached to the peptides, will become visible if the sample contains the target peptide.