Students of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Durgapur have developed a self-checking blood test device that can detect the possibility of breast cancer at an early stage. Once taken up for commercialisation, the process for which has already started, each strip of the devise will cost Rs 150 to Rs 200.

Monidipa Ghosh, associate professor of biotechnology at NIT and head of the project, told News18, “The device requires a single drop of finger-prick blood and a drop of reagent on the paper-based strip. It is designed to harness the flow of blood from an input source pad to a reaction pad for the diagnosis. The device can be fitted into digital device to get the reading.”

“It will detect the amount of cancer-indicating antigen HER2 in a woman’s body. HER2 is Human Epidermal Growth Factor and in a normal female body it should be below 15 nano gram/ML. If it is above 15 nano gram per ML, then a person should go for a check-up immediately because there may be a possibility of breast cancer. I am using the word ‘possibility’ because it is not necessary that everybody having high HER2 level is suffering from cancer. However, trends show that chances of having breast cancer are high among those women who have high HER2 level. It is a boon for family members having a history of breast cancer. It will work as an alarm bell for them.”

The device has been developed in association with the Central Mechanical Research Institute. “We have tested the device successfully in the laboratory on a series of patients and we have applied for a patent for it. The laboratory cost of this device is about Rs 10,000, but in case of large-scale manufacturing, a single strip test will cost a person around Rs 150 to 200. We can further bring down the cost to Rs 50 and all depends on how we go about its manufacturing,” she said.

She added that this was the first time that a self-testing device for detecting breast cancer has been designed in India. The test will work as a bio marker for susceptibility to breast cancer. “This will be highly useful for women living in rural India as there is a lack of awareness among them about breast cancer,” Ghosh said. Over 1.5 million women worldwide are detected with the ailment annually.

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