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Saudi female engineer wins international award for inventing cancer detecting chip

January 17, 2022 at 4:12 pm

This photograph taken on November 17, 2021, shows a laboratory test at the Transgene biotech firm, which is working to develop a neoantigen cancer vaccine [PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images]

A Saudi engineer has won the “Innovators Under 35” award for developing a chip that can detect different types of cancer in the human body.

Dana Al-Sulaiman works as Assistant Professor of Material Science and Bioengineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and, according to the MIT Technology Review Arabia website, she was awarded for her work which is described as “a functional hydrogel-coated micro needle platform which enables rapid and non-invasive sampling and detection of cancer-specific biomarkers from the skin’s interstitial fluid.”

The 28-year-old told the Alekhbariya channel “It is a small chip made of micro needles covered with a substance that is placed on the skin”.

“It is able to absorb liquid, and detect cancer biomarkers in an easy and non-invasive way,” she explained.

“The reason that prompted me to create the slide is the painful and tedious process of the traditional way where a sample is taken from the patient,” she added.

Al-Sulaiman also revealed that the invention was granted a US patent and that the technology is currently being developed and manufactured from sustainable materials by the King Abdullah University.

Presented by Majarra and MIT Technology Review Arabia, the “Innovators Under 35 Award” aims to recognise Arab technical experts, researchers and scientists below 35 years of age over their contributions to a wide range of fields.

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