Giant Magnetoresistance Based Biosensors for Cancer Screening and Detection
Early-stage screening of cancer is critical in preventing its development and therefore can improve the prognosis of the disease. One accurate and effective method of cancer screening is using high sensitivity biosensors to detect optically, chemically, or magnetically labeled cancer biomarkers. Among a wide range of biosensors, giant magnetoresistance (GMR) based devices offer high sensitivity, low background noise, robustness, and low cost. With state-of-the-art micro- and nanofabrication techniques, tens to hundreds of independently working GMR biosensors can be integrated into fingernail-sized chips for the simultaneous detection of multiple cancer biomarkers (i.e., multiplexed assay). Meanwhile, the miniaturization of GMR chips makes them able to be integrated into point-of-care (POC) devices. In this review, we first introduce three types of GMR biosensors in terms of their structures and physics, followed by a discussion on fabrication techniques for those sensors. In order to achieve target cancer biomarker detection, the GMR biosensor surface needs to be subjected to biological decoration. Thus, commonly used methods for surface functionalization are also reviewed. The robustness of GMR-based biosensors in cancer detection has been demonstrated by multiple research groups worldwide and we review some representative examples. At the end of this review, the challenges and future development prospects of GMR biosensor platforms are commented on. With all their benefits and opportunities, it can be foreseen that GMR biosensor platforms will transition from a promising candidate to a robust product for cancer screening in the near future.