EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 29 (UPI) -- Scottish scientists say they've developed tiny gold chemical sensors that could be used to help detect, diagnose and track a disease's progress.
University of Edinburgh researchers led by Colin Campbell said once a probe is inserted into a cell, laser light shone on it is absorbed and then re-emitted, causing nearby proteins in the cell to vibrate according to their shape. Since molecules change shape as disease progresses, they give rise to different vibrational frequencies, allowing scientists to measure and interpret the vibrations to understand how the cell is responding to disease.
The researchers said their probes could be useful tools to learn more about diseases at a very small scale, by observing how molecules interact.
"By creating a sensor that can safely be implanted into tissue and combining this with a sensitive light-measurement technique, we have developed a useful device that will help diagnose and track disease in patients," Campbell said.
The study appeared in the journals Chemical Communications, Nano and the Journal of Biophotonics.