Kaposi sarcoma is especially prevalent in countries suffering from AIDS—countries which largely have very little infrastructure and where citizens have limited access to health care. NIBIB funded researchers at Cornell University, David Erickson, Ph.D, and his collaborator, Ethel Cesarman are developing a new point of care device that can diagnose this type of cancer in less than 30 minutes and uses very little power.
While it can be deadly, Kaposi sarcoma can be treated with great efficacy if caught early. However, after having to wait for a long time in clinics far from their home, many people who are tested never return to learn the results of their tests and don’t find out about their cancer until it is too late. The KS-Detect allows technicians to give patients their results on the same day and recommend treatment if necessary. Taking PCR out of the lab in a device that can be held in the doctors’ hands and taken directly to the patient is the kind of point of care device that could transform testing for patients, not only in rural areas but even in doctors’ offices in the US. The technology also has the potential to be able to be modified to test for other diseases such as tuberculosis.