ISFET: Precise Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Aug 8, 2023, 14:50 PM by Arnaud Legrand

Researchers at Imperial have developed a novel approach for detecting prostate cancer using a sophisticated device called an Ion-sensitive field-effect transistor (ISFET) in combination with complementary metal oxide semiconductors. This technology acts as a compact and efficient diagnostic tool for identifying specific markers related to prostate cancer.

In this study, researchers from the Centre for BioInspired Technology and the Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine focused on analysing molecules called mRNA, which play a crucial role in conveying genetic information about the body functions and health, including pathology such as cancers. They successfully used two specific markers, namely the androgen receptor and the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, both of which are important indicators of prostate cancer. Remarkably, this innovative device can detect these markers even when they are present in minute quantities, providing a sensitive diagnostic capability. Moreover, the entire analysis process takes less than 30 minutes, ensuring a rapid and efficient assessment.


The device's accuracy and specificity was validated by testing it with samples from individuals with prostate cancer. The results showed that the device reliably detected the targeted markers. Additionally, they successfully integrated these tests into the compact ISFET device, creating a miniaturised and convenient diagnostic platform. This technology represents a significant advancement in the early diagnosis of prostate cancer, offering the potential for quicker and more accurate detection. In the future, this approach could revolutionise how prostate cancer is diagnosed and managed, ultimately improving patient outcomes and treatment strategies.


Handheld ISFET Lab-on-Chip detection of TMPRSS2-ERG and AR mRNA for prostate cancer prognostics - IEEE Sens Lett. 2023 Aug;7(8):1-4. 

Joseph Broomfield, Melpomeni Kalofonou, Sylvia Franklin, Sue M Powell, Thomas Pataillot-Meakin, Nicolas Moser, Charlotte L Bevan, Pantelis Georgiou