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A film bulk acoustic-wave resonator (FBAR)-based biosensor for the detection of cancer has been has been fabricated by researchers from Shandong University in China. Their device is designed to detect the presence of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), which is a serological marker for a number of cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma, the third leading cause of death from cancer in the world. The detection of these proteins is not straightforward, as a concentration of just 500 ng/ml of AFP can suggest the presence of cancer. The group's device can detect a concentration of 1 ng/ml, and can be integrated onto a single CMOS chip, significantly reducing time and cost.Previous sensors for these serological markers have fallen into two categories. One kind requires the marker to be labelled and then detected. This can be time-consuming and invasive. More recently, label-free techniques have been developed. These use optical or gravimetric systems, including surface plasmon resonance devices, quartz microbalances and surface acoustic waves. However, these methods tend to be expensive and do not have the required sensitivity. As a consequence, FBARs present the best candidate for practical cancer detection.

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Film bulk acoustic resonator based biosensor for detection of cancer serological marker
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