A new fibre-optic sensor could be used to determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy by measuring the intake rate of oxygen.
Scientists at Purdue University that developed the instrument have tested it on a variety of organic materials, from tumour cells and fish eggs to plant roots and spinal cord material.
The findings have been published in the journal the Analyst and indicate that the new device is capable of delivering real time data and does not consume oxygen like traditional sensors.
Marshall Porterfield, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the university, said: "It's very sensitive in terms of the biological specimens we can monitor.
"We don't only measure oxygen concentration, we measure the flux. That's what's important for biologists."
The sensor is expected to have applications across the range of material it was tested on for the paper.
According to Printed Electronics World, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh have developed a fluorescent oxygen sensor capable of detecting minute amounts of oxygen.