We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly independent, and this even extends to our health. We monitor our own blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and buy pregnancy tests that we can do at home. Wouldn’t it be great if it was just as easy to test ourselves for diseases like cancer? It seems that this might be possible in the near future…
Researchers at the Ohio State University are developing paper strips that detect various diseases. Each strip costs just 50 cents and they are ideal for regular check-ups.
The paper test was first developed as a cheap way to detect malaria in rural Africa and Southeast Asia, where hundreds of people die from the disease. The researchers found that the test results were still accurate, even one month after testing; making it a great solution for people who live further afield or for those who aren’t able to have a face to face visit with their doctor.
The researchers stated in the “Journal of the American Chemical Society”, that the test can detect any kind of disease for which our body produces antibodies, such as large intestine or ovarian cancer. It means that at-risk groups don’t have to go to hospital for an appointment; they can simply take regular tests. Badu-Tawiah, researcher at the Ohio State University, explains that with the test, they want to empower people and make it possible for them to test themselves as often as they wish, when feeling worried about their health.
How does it work?
The paper contains wax ink that forms a waterproof barrier to capture a blood sample and synthetic chemical probes that aren’t affected by light, temperature or humidity. The test requires the user to place just one drop of blood on the paper. The samples can then be sent to a laboratory for review. The user would only need to see a doctor if the outcome is positive.
Development continues. Scientists are working on a more precise test and are also running trials with saliva and urine instead of blood. Their aim is to test in a clinical setting within the next three years. Best Doctors will be keenly following their progress.