Sunday January 22, 2017

Scientists Can Sequence DNA With A Smartphone

Anything that helps in the fight against cancer is a welcome development, and now we have a potential solution for making screenings cheaper and more accessible. Scientists have created a lightweight optical attachment that works with a smartphone camera to detect cancer cells and perform other diagnostics. As it can be mass produced for $500, this contraption would be particularly attractive for underdeveloped countries. Thanks to scojer for this story.

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"A typical microscope with multiple imaging modes would cost around $10,000," lead researcher Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering, said in a statement. "Whereas higher-end versions, such as the one we used to validate our mobile-phone microscope, would go for $50,000 or more." The research team's cheap, 3D-printed alternative plugs into a smartphone to record multi-mode images at the same quality as a traditional light microscope. It then feeds data to an algorithm for automatic analysis. According to UCLA, the gadget can even detect small amounts of cancer cells hidden among a large group of normal ones.