Scientists in New Zealand Report Advances in Medical Sensor Technology with Real-time Estrogen Sensor

With numerous new breakthroughs in sensor technology to improve the state of patient monitoring being reported, there is a palpable interest in conducting more research in this field. In what comes as yet another addition to the bevy of medical sensors, a team of scientists at the Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) has developed a sensor that can detect estrogen even in low levels more rapidly and accurately than many of the current devices available on the market.

The sensor works by transmitting an electric signal when it detects the presence of estrogen in liquids. This sensor attracts aptamers - small DNA pieces that attach to estrogen molecules - to carbon nanotubes, which in turn emit a minute electric signal on detecting estrogen molecules.

To study this medical sensor further, researchers tested the device in two lengths – while one had a length of 35 units, the other was 75 units long. On comparing these two devices with different lengths, scientists found that the shorter device was able to flag the presence of estrogen by emitting a minute electrical signal. The longer device, on the other hand, failed to trigger any response to the presence of estrogen in the fluid sample.

The team has now narrowed its focus on the shorter device, tweaking it further to see how it performs in an actual biological fluid. The new device could offer a range of advantages, such as real-time readings, minimal power usage, and ease of use owing to its simple design. The team wants to also expand the applications of this medical sensor beyond estrogen tests, and will soon be developing similar sensors for other diagnostic purposes. From a broader perspective, the diagnostics market is currently in a state of rapid growth, with more consumers seeking home-use diagnostic kits.


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