A team led by an expatriate Bangladeshi scientist in Australia has developed a simple, fast, and inexpensive way to detect cancers at an early stage. Muhammad Jahirul Alam Shiddiky, who led the research team, teaches in the Griffith University as a senior lecturer.
Anyone can diagnose cancer at home using this method, Jahirul told Prothom Alo.
One has to take one or two drops of blood, serum or urine from cancer patients. Then a tiny amount of organic indicator (biomarker) that changes color if the test is positive is added and a naked-eye observation can be used to find out the presence of cancer, said Jahirul.
The scientist also said the level of color change will confirm the level of the cancer cells spread in the samples, he added.
The tool has been used on 25 cancer patients to find out its efficiency and the research team discovered its hundred percent success in cancer diagnosis.
There are three other Bangladeshis on the team too.
They are Shahriar Hossain, an expatriate Bangladeshi in Australia and a teacher of the University of Wollongong, Mostafa Kamal Masud, a Ph.D. student in Australia and associate professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology’s Biochemistry department, and Md Nazmul Islam who graduated in Biochemistry from Jahangirnagar University.
The team published their papers in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal ‘Nanoscale’, The American Chemical Society’s journal ‘Analytical Chemistry’, and Royal Society of Chemical Communications, to disseminate the findings.
The research, financed by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, was conducted to invent an easy way to diagnose cancer at an early stage cheaply.
If a portable diagnostic device is produced using this invention, its cost will be around Tk 150 in Bangladesh and $5 dollars (Tk 400) in developed countries.
Asked about the invention, Habibullah Talukdar Raskin, head of the cancer epidemiology department at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital told Prothom Alo, “As many as 80 to 90 percent cancer patients can be cured if they are diagnosed at an early stage.”
“Most cancer patients die as they take treatment in the final stages of the disease,” he added.