A New Smartphone App May Detect Disease and Monitor Treatment Remotely

First Posted: Apr 02, 2015 10:47 AM EDT

Want to detect disease? There actually is an app for that. Scientists have identified a new biosensing platform that could be used to remotely detect and determine treatment options for HIV, E-coli and other bacteria; they've now used this technology to create a smartphone app that could detect bacteria and disease in the blood using images from a cellphone.

In this latest study, the researchers used paper and flexible substrates as materials for biosensors. Existing paper and flexible material-based platforms actually use colorimetric, fluorometric and electrochemical approaches that require complex labeling steps to amplify their signal. However, these materials are costly to fabricate and also require expensive equipment and infrastructure.

The new materials are a huge step forward when it comes to the future of diagnostics and health monitoring. Because the materials are easy to make, easy to use and can easily and safely be disposed by burning, they provide appealing strategies for developing affordable tools that have broad applications such as drug development and food safety.

The newly developed materials can be fabricated and operated without the need for expensive infrastructure and skilled personnel. With this technology, in fact, the scientists developed a phone app that could detect bacteria and disease in the blood using images from a cellphone app that could easily be analyzed from anywhere in the world.

"There is a dire need for robust, portable, disposable and inexpensive biosensing platforms for clinical care, especially in developing countries with limited resources," was Waseem Asghar in a news release.

The findings could be huge in terms of diagnosing diseases remotely. The paper microchip technologies may have a significant impact on infectious diseases management in low- and middle-income countries.

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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