Without these data, medical practitioners cannot provide accurate diagnosis and ongoing treatment. Consequently, proven diagnostic devices are needed, in demand and willingly accepted by all parties. There is currently a large gap between technology in use and technology available. Bio sensors and 'lab-on-a-chip' devices potentially offer rapid label-free measurement, but are sparsely represented in the current universally used routines employed in most hospitals. There is obviously a need to close this gap to the satisfaction of those that pay the health-care bills.
The plethora of recent publications is simply a reflection of the activity in the field and part of the process of reporting another faster, more accurate, hopefully less expensive method to assist diagnosis. This is the second book in the RSC Detection Science Series, and has 28 contributors largely based in the UK but with major contributions from Canada and the USA. The book is divided into nine chapters, with the first two also considering the role that the patient has to play in the overall process. Dry reagent systems for glucose are dealt with in Chapter 3, and Chapter 4 covers electrochemical detection of disease-related diagnostic biomarkers. The advantages/ disadvantages and biocompatibility of in vivo sensors are explained in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 is intriguing. The role of nitrogen oxides in several biological cycles has been well established for many decades, recently evolving into detailed studies of reactive nitrogen and oxygen free radical species. The elusive peroxynitrite radical ONOO- (PON) is highlighted as a potent death cell inducer in several devastating diseases, suggesting early accurate detection would be an important addition to routine analysis. Chapter 7 involves how to classify risk in patients suffering from myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and Chapter 8 exemplifies a real-time probe analysis of oesophageal carcinoma.
It is anticipated several more books will evolve in this series, each updating a specific target. For some time to come these can only be little more than a current commentary on the rapidity of change in this essential sector of the medical device industry.