Implantable Sensors for Early Disease Detection


We are addressing the problem of the early detection of cancer and other diseases by developing implantable nanosensors. These sensors allow the non-invasive detection of disease biomarkers via optical detection through living tissues, and they may interface with wearable devices.

The sensors could enable early detection of cancer in people at high risk for the disease, or in successfully treated patients who have a high risk of recurrence. In people who are undergoing treatment, the sensors could signal immediately whether a biomarker is going up or down and — when needed — alert a doctor to switch to a different course of therapy. We recently developed implantable sensors that can detect microRNA and protein biomarkers. We are pursuing the translation of these sensor platforms from the laboratory to the clinic.


Science Meets Art to Build a Paintable Diagnostic Test for Cancer

Detective Work: How Implantable Nanosensors Could Monitor Cancer Activity


J Budhathoki-Uprety, J Shah, JA Korsen, AE Wayne, TV Galassi, JR Cohen, JD Harvey, PV Jena, LV Ramanathan, EA Jaimes, DA Heller*. “Synthetic Molecular Recognition Nanosensor Paint for Microalbuminuria.” Nature Communications 10 (2019) 3605. 

RM Williams, C Lee, TV Galassi, JD Harvey, R Leicher, M Sirenko, M Dorso, J Shah, N Olvera, F Dao, DA Levine,DA Heller*. “Non-Invasive Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Detection via an Optical Nanosensor Implant.” Science Advances 4 (2018) eaaq1090.

JD Harvey, PV Jena, HA Baker, GH Zerze, RM Williams, TV Galassi, D Roxbury, J Mittal, DA Heller: “A Carbon Nanotube Reporter of miRNA Hybridization Events In Vivo.” Nature Biomedical Engineering 1 (2017) 0041