Send to

Choose Destination
Biosens Bioelectron. 2006 Apr 15;21(10):1851-8. Epub 2006 Feb 2.

Development of biosensors for cancer clinical testing.

Author information

Cancer Diagnosis Program (CDP) of the National Cancer Institute, United States.


Biosensors are devices that combine a biochemical recognition/binding element (ligand) with a signal conversion unit (transducer). Biosensors are already used for several clinical applications, for example for electrochemical measurement of blood glucose concentrations. Application of biosensors in cancer clinical testing has several potential advantages over other clinical analysis methods including increased assay speed and flexibility, capability for multi-target analyses, automation, reduced costs of diagnostic testing and a potential to bring molecular diagnostic assays to community health care systems and to underserved populations. They have the potential for facilitating Point of Care Testing (POCT), where state-of-the-art molecular analysis is carried out without requiring a state-of-the-art laboratory. However, not many biosensors have been developed for cancer-related testing. One major challenge in harnessing the potential of biosensors is that cancer is a very complex set of diseases. Tumors vary widely in etiology and pathogenesis. Oncologists rely heavily on histological characterization of tumors and a few biomarkers that have demonstrated clinical utility to aid in patient management decisions. New genomic and proteomic molecular tools are being used to profile tumors and produce "molecular signatures." These signatures include genetic and epigenetic signatures, changes in gene expression, protein profiles and post-translational modifications of proteins. These molecular signatures provide new opportunities for utilizing biosensors. Biosensors have enormous potential to deliver the promise of new molecular diagnostic strategies to patients. This article describes some of the basic elements of cancer biology and cancer biomarkers relevant for the development of biosensors for cancer clinical testing, along with the challenges in using this approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center