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June 26, 2019
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Health Top Stories

Pakistani engineer Samir Iqbal develops device to enable early cancer detection

A genius Pakistani engineer living in the US has developed a device that detects cancer early.

Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Arlington Samir Iqbal 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.”

Before pursuing his postgraduate studies in the US, Iqbal earned bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Karachi’s NED University of Engineering and Technology. Iqbal completed his PhD from the University of Purdue in 2007 and since then, he has been with the UTA and has received nearly $1.4 million in grants since his arrival.

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

Iqbal said the answer was in creating a nanotextured wall that fools blood samples into thinking it is actual tissue.

“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.”