MEXICO CITY – A team of researchers at Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology is developing a device for the early detection of breast cancer, a key to improving the chances of successful treatment of the disease.
A sensor, embedded in an ultrathin film about two microns thick and 10 millimeters long, is able to detect the Cerb-b2 protein, which is present in the saliva of “a large number of women” in the early stages of breast cancer, research team leader Joaquin Esteban Oseguera Peña told EFE.
A great advantage of this method is that detection may happen earlier than through self-exploration of the breast, since the test is positive when the tumor is just microns wide, a size 1,000 times smaller than when it is detected manually, and when “it’s of interest to find it because it could be reversible,” Oseguera said.
The Cerb-b2 protein is present in about 98 percent of women with breast cancer.
With the device, “it could be possible to immediately determine if the protein is present and, therefore, if the chances are high that breast cancer is developing,” Oseguera, who leads an eight-member research team at the university’s campus in Mexico state, said.
“The key idea is that the device will be available to anyone, particularly in places in Mexico where access to more advanced equipment is difficult,” Oseguera said.