A home pregnancy test is the most common test strip for diagnosis. Pregnant women have progressively increasing levels of the biomarker human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is easily traceable in urine. A thin, colorful strip of antibodies will appear when hCG is present.
However, there is much more hCG in urine than there is of cancer biomarkers in blood. Detecting minute concentrations is the biggest challenge of test strips that have been produced to detect numerous things from cancer to heart problems to infectious diseases. The actual stripe on the paper just is not sufficiently sensitive enough to change color for a human eye to easily see it at concentrations that make a life-changing difference.
According to new research led by Xiaohu Xia, an assistant professor of chemistry at Michigan Technological University some nanoparticle with bling could transform that. Also, it would not significantly impact the cost of existing test strips. The research details have been published recently in Nano Letters.