Tuesday March 26, 2019

Here’s How Gold-plated Nanoparticles can Help in Detection of Cancer at an Early Stage

Moreover, the new diagnostic technique costs less and is faster than traditional methods

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel, low-cost finger prick blood test that deploys gold-plated nanoparticles for early detection of cancer.

The research team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney used nanoparticles to latch on to the targeted microRNAs (miRNAs), even in ultralow levels, which enabled them to be easily extracted.

“We are detecting small molecules found in the blood which could also identify the type of cancer, while they are looking for rare cells that are responsible for the spread of cancer,” said Justin Gooding, Professor from the varsity.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team reported modifying gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles (Au@MNPs) with DNA to match the miRNA they wanted to detect.

Gooding said the nanoparticles are, in effect, dispersible electrodes. When circulated through the blood they capture the miRNA before a magnet is used to recapture the nanoparticles with the newly attached microRNA.

“Now we get more of the microRNA because the dispersible electrodes capture nearly everything in the sample,” Professor Gooding said.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“Because the capture is so effective, we get higher sensitivities and can detect much lower limits.

“And since we bring them back to the electrode under a magnet, our response time is much faster,” he noted.

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Moreover, the new diagnostic technique costs less and is faster than traditional methods.

“Our method takes 30 minutes compared with almost 12 hours for quantitative polymerase chain reaction,” Gooding said.

Gooding said he expects the technology to be available within three years, pending regulatory approvals. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A new research has set the stage for clinicians to potentially use levels of a pancreatic cancer patient’s PHLPP1 and PKC enzymes as a prognostic and for researchers to develop new therapeutic drugs that change the balance of the two enzymes as a means to treat the disease.

The study, published on Wednesday in Molecular Cell, was led by Alexandra Newton, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Timothy Baffi, a graduate student in her lab, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new study built on the team’s work in 2015 that found the enzyme PKC, which was believed in previous studies to promote tumour growth, actually suppressed it.

The latest study took the investigation a step further by uncovering how cells regulate PKC activity and discovered that any time an over-active PKC is inadvertently produced, the PHLPP1 “proofreader” tags it for destruction.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

“That means the amount of PHLPP1 in your cells determines your amount of PKC,” Newton said. “And it turns out those enzyme levels are especially important in pancreatic cancer.”

The team observed 105 pancreatic cancer tumours to analyze the enzyme levels in each one. About 50 per cent of patients with low PHLPP1/high PKC lived longer than five-and-a-half years.

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While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system. It typically doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Sufferers tend to develop signs, such as back pain and jaundice, when it has spread to other organs. (IANS)