New paper test could help diagnose cancer
Researchers including an Indian origin have developed a simple, cheap, paper test that could improve cancer diagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier.
The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer.
This approach has helped detect infectious diseases, and the new technology allows noncommunicable diseases to be detected using the same strategy.
The technology, developed by MIT professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Sangeeta Bhatia, relies on nanoparticles that interact with tumor proteins called proteases, each of which can trigger release of hundreds of biomarkers that are then easily detectable in a patient's urine.
To create the test strips, the researchers first coated nitrocellulose paper with antibodies that can capture the peptides.
Once the peptides are captured, they flow along the strip and are exposed to several invisible test lines made of other antibodies specific to different tags attached to the peptides.
If one of these lines becomes visible, it means the target peptide is present in the sample. The technology can also easily be modified to detect multiple types of peptides released by different types or stages of disease.
In tests in mice, the researchers were able to accurately identify colon tumors, as well as blood clots. Bhatia says these tests represent the first step toward a diagnostic device that could someday be useful in human patients.
The paper has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
(Posted on 25-02-2014)
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