De La Salle UniversityIs this the answer to lung cancer scare?

Is this the answer to lung cancer scare?

A Physics professor conducting research at DLSU Laguna Campus develops an affordable nano gas sensor device that can provide an accurate and immediate diagnosis of lung diseases such as TB and cancer.

World Health Organization data shows that in the Philippines, the number of new cancer cases in 2018 reached a total of 141,021. While breast cancer was the number one type affecting the female population, lung cancer was the most prevalent among the male population. For that year alone, 17,255 new cases of lung cancer were recorded.

The figures mirror the daunting task that the Philippine Lung Center needs to contend with. With a steady stream of patients coming in over the years while also facing fiscal limitations, the Center sought ways to aid indigent patients, beginning with the initial stage of cancer detection.

It was in this light that the iNANO research facility of the DLSU Laguna Campus embarked on the development of a nano gas sensor device.

Physics Department Professor Dr. Gil Nonato Santos, who concurrently serves as the Vice Chancellor for the Laguna Campus, shares that his ongoing research in collaboration with the Philippine Lung Center has support from USAID’s Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program and industry partner Integrated MicroElectronics, Inc.

“The nano gas sensor is intended to help poverty-stricken patients who cannot afford to pay for a series of laboratory services in detecting lung disease,” he points out.

Rapid diagnosis

Santos explains that the device is an economical alternative since it can identify the disease in a matter of minutes, helping the doctor provide an immediate and appropriate care to the patient.

Currently, patients have to go through a series of tests—x-ray, specimen testing, culturing of specimen, blood test,

and biopsy—which is not only costly but also time-consuming. For many patients who cannot afford to go through all these, the tests may take weeks or months before they can get confirmation of their condition.

For the research, the iNano research team of Santos developed a nano crystal tested for aldehydes, a volatile organic compound (VOC) that is uniquely present in the breath of individuals with lung cancer patients. Also, the research developed a patented system for synthesizing nano materials called the Horizontal Vapor Phase Growth Technique and gas sensing using nano sensors.

Recently, the iNano research team developed an array of gas sensors tested by the Philippine Lung Center facility, for 30 patient-volunteers. The results showed a 90% accuracy, which meant a great boost for the research program but nonetheless a reminder to move further to achieve the goal of attaining the highest standards for the project.

For the research team of Santos, that next step is making the research testing arbitrary to further the accuracy and improve the design of this nano gas sensor device.

Dr. Gil Nonato Santos is Professor of the DLSU Physics Department and Vice Chancellor for the Laguna Campus.

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