The diagnosis process will take only five to ten minutes
A team of talented researchers from the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) have developed a device capable of detecting the presence of cancer cells in a human body—at a cheaper price than existing methods.
The diagnosis process will take only five to ten minutes, and cost a patient around Tk500.
Confirming the matter to the Dhaka Tribune on Thursday, research team member Dr Sharif Mohammad Sharfuddin said: “A team of 25 researchers worked together to develop this technology. Five of the researchers are teachers, while the rest are Honours, Masters, and PhD-level students.
“The device detects cancer cells by analyzing the blood’s serum, however we cannot confirm that this device is 100% accurate. We need more research to further develop this technology," Dr Sharifuddin said.
In 1997, Shahjalal University launched research on “non-linear optics” —this would later become the core process of the cancer detection device.
Speaking to the correspondent, physics department Professor and Lead Researcher Dr Yasmin Haque pointed out: “We used to teach non-linear optics to students as a course. Later, step by step, we used the basics of the subject to develop a device to detect cancer cells.
“We tested this device on 60 cancer patients, and ten people who do not have the decease," Dr Yasmin said. "Using non-linear optics, we witnessed a change in the blood serum samples collected from cancer patients. This device can detect the presence of cancer cells without the need for a traditional blood test.”
Adding that the university had received a grant of Tk8 lakh from the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1999 for this project, Dr Yasmin said: “On 2011, the basic project was launched with funding of Tk3 crore from Higher Education Development Project (HEDP).
“A non-linear Bio-Optics Research Laboratory was built to conduct research," she added. "In 2016, the HEDP approved a project titled 'Detecting Biomarkers Using Non-Linear Optics' and granted Tk6 crore in additional funding. With the funds, the university built another research laboratory."
The HEDP is supported the by University Grants Commission (UGC).
Providing more details, Dr Yasmin continued: “Though the second phase of the research began in March 2016, we tallied the first results in October of the same year. However, the project was kept secret from the public, and the test results were sent to America for further evaluation."
She said theoretical analysis of the project began in February of 2018.
Stating that the laboratory is well-equipped for high-end projects, Dr Yasmin continued: “We use a high-powered laser for research. We analyze non-linear samples sent to us from universities across the country and also from India.”
According the research team members, the device should be ready for widespread public use within a year.