Detecting Cancer With Implantable Light

Prostate cancers found with biocompatible LED light

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Imagine having a tiny light implanted in your body that could signal when cancer appears. Just such an invention may be just around the corner.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a flexible light emitting device (LED) that can pick up the presence of prostate cancer. This new technology is called a flexible Gallium Nitride (GaN) LED.

"Tiny implanted light could soon be used to detect cancer."

This technology is currently being used in LED televisions and also by the lighting industry. It hasn't been well-suited for biomedical applications, though, because the material is so brittle.

A research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee, of the KAIST department of materials science and engineering, has overcome this problem by developing a flexible GaN LED. It uses a flexible LED biosensor that's not rejected by the body.

Lee has been working on this material since his Ph.D. studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He co-invented a "High Performance Flexible Single Crystal GaN."

This new technology uses the same system to transfer GaN LED films onto bendable surfaces, which is encapsulated in a biocompatible package.

Lee and his team demonstrated the system's potential application as an implantable biomedical sensing device can detect prostate cancer.

This paper was published in the September 16, 2011 online issue of Nano Energy Elsevier Journal.

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Review Date: 
September 20, 2011
Last Updated:
September 20, 2011