Korean researchers have developed a technology that can detect cholesterol in saliva instead of blood. This new technology is expected to be used to diagnose lipid metabolism disturbances such as hyperlipidemia.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced on Oct. 17 that a research team led by Dr. Lee Soo-hyun of the Center for BioMicrosystems has developed a high-sensitivity sensor that measures the amount of cholesterol in saliva.
The sensor developed by the research team takes the form of a membrane structure fixed with enzymes that combine with cholesterol. When cholesterol is attached to enzymes, electrical signals from the sensor change so that they can detect cholesterol to the level of several nanograms per milliliter of saliva.
Researchers say that the sensitivity of the new sensor is 1,000 times higher than that of conventional portable sensors that use blood to detect cholesterol.
So far, blood has often been used to analyze the amount of cholesterol. If the newly developed sensor is commercialized, anyone can easily check the cholesterol level without drawing blood.
"This sensor is expected to gain the upper hand over blood-based diagnostic chips in terms of convenience and technological advancement," Dr. Lee said, adding that it can be used to detect and measure hormone and glucose.
The results of the study were published in the Oct. 15 edition of the international journal Sensors and Actuator B: Chemical.