Our tears contain a lot of information about the health of our body. Not as much as blood, of course, but a lot more than most people think.
Knowing this, and bearing in mind that contact lenses are in constant contact with tears, Yangzhi Zhu, a biomedical engineer at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (a non-profit research organization in California) has been working on special contact lenses that could easily detect cancer.
At the moment it has only been tested on laboratory cells, identifying exosomes, which can indicate the growth of a tumor in some part of the body. The lenses they have invented have an antibody that can detect and adhere to another antibody found in these exosomes, when both antibodies come together, they turn red, thus giving a positive result.
The advantage of something like this is that it avoids the standard blood test, biopsies or tomography, being much faster in obtaining a result, since in 30 minutes we will have the information processed.
Now they plan to test it on rabbits before they can test it on humans and verify if it is safe for health, so it will take months to see it on the market if everything goes well.
Experts believe that contact lenses can even be used to administer medications, not just to identify diseases, so it may be that in the future we will have contact lenses that detect and cure, something that seems to come out of some science fiction book.
Remember that studies had already been carried out using contact lenses. Reread these articles:
– Smart lenses, for health, for the multimedia world… all in one infographic
– Google and Novartis announce their collaboration in the development of contact lenses for diabetics
– Artificial Intelligence in medicine
There is still nothing commercially affordable, but the advances do not stop. Unfortunately some end up in the drawer, like the aforementioned Novartis project, which received support from Google in 2014. There is no reference to diabetic contact lenses on the novartis website at the moment.