Pakistani scientist develops device to enable early cancer detection

Published February 16, 2016
Dr Samir Iqbal, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington. – photo courtesy University of Texas at Arlington
Dr Samir Iqbal, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington. – photo courtesy University of Texas at Arlington

A Pakistani electrical engineer based in the United States has developed a device that helps in detecting cancer early, which is one of the biggest factors in successfully fighting the fatal disease.

Samir Iqbal, an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), detailed his team’s results in a recent Nature Scientific Reports paper called “Effects of Nanotexture on Electrical Profiling of Single Tumor Cell and Detection of Cancer from Blood in Microfluidic Channels.”

Iqbal completed his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. He went on to pursue his postgraduate studies in the US, where he completed his PhD from the University of Purdue in 2007.

Since then, Iqbal has been with the UTA and has received nearly $1.4 million in grants since his arrival.

His device studies the behaviour of cells in real time, using nanotextured walls. Iqbal said his team noted the many layers of tissue in the human body and decided to develop something that would mimic that layering.

“The answer was in creating a nanotextured wall that fools blood samples into thinking it is actual tissue,” Iqbal was quoted by the uta.edu website.

“We used inherent properties of the cell walls to create a diagnostic tool. The cancer cells behave differently as they come into contact with the nanotextured walls. They dance.”

Identifying those “dancing cells” will help doctors pinpoint cancer cells and start treatment earlier than allowed with current technology.

“Discovering the cancer earlier, before it metastasizes, is essential to surviving cancer,” Iqbal said. “Our device has the potential to do that.”

Opinion

Editorial

Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...
Injustice undone
Updated 13 Jul, 2024

Injustice undone

The SC verdict is a stunning reversal of fortunes for a party that was, both before and after general elections, being treated as a defunct entity.
Looming flour shortage
13 Jul, 2024

Looming flour shortage

FOR once, it is hard to argue against the reason that compelled flour mills to call a nationwide strike from...
Same old script
13 Jul, 2024

Same old script

WHEN it comes to the troubling issue of enforced disappearances/ missing persons — either Baloch or belonging to...