A high-tech microscope slide which promises to revolutionize how early-stage cancers are diagnosed has won the 2022 Eureka Prize for most innovative use of technology.

Developed by La Trobe University along with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, the NanoMslide turns the humble microscope slide into a diagnostic lab.

Breast cancer cells automatically light up due to a special coating on the slide’s surface, making abnormal cells easy to spot and to differentiate from healthy tissue.

The NanoMslide, in development for six years, works with existing microscopes and removes the need to manually stain slides and other steps which can introduce interpretation errors.

The Eureka Prize was tonight awarded to NanoMslide’s co-inventors Professor Brian Abbey and Dr Eugeniu Balaur from La Trobe University, and Peter Mac’s Associate Professor Belinda Parker who led its clinical validation.

The Eureka Prizes are Australia's most comprehensive national science awards, and its new technology category is sponsored by The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

“We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to be awarded the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology,” Associate Professor Parker says.

“NanoMslide has enormous potential for enabling faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnosis of early-stage breast cancers and may also be readily adapted to early diagnosis of a host of cancers including lung, melanoma and colon cancer.

“Not only is it a game-changing technology in cancer diagnosis, there are further potential applications in industry and we’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible with NanoMslide.”

A paper which showed how NanoMslide could be used to accurately diagnose very early-stage breast cancer was published in Nature in 2021.

This research was done in collaboration with the Garvan Institute using samples collected as part of a National Breast Cancer screening program. 

The Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes are the country’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring excellence across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science. 

Successful nominees were announced July and the Eureka Prizes 2022 winners were announced at an event tonight in Canberra.


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