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Sensor with “human touch” could improve breast cancer detection

UNL scientists Ravi Saraf and Chieu Van Nguyen have developed a nano particle-based device that emulates human touch.

It can detect tumors too small and deep to be felt with human fingers.  It’s a sort of electronic skin that can sense texture and relative stiffness.

Saraf, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, thinks the thin-film could be used in a stethoscope-like device that family doctors could use to conduct quick and painless breast exams.  The beauty of the device is that it would be more sensitive than a manual breast exam, cheaper than a mammogram or MRI, and it would provide a visual record of the lump so the doc could more accurately monitor it during future visits.

Saraf says the next step is to find $1 million or so to develop a prototype.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (No. R21EB008520-01) in National Institutes of Health.

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