Gold-plated nanoparticles help early cancer detection

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney have developed a new, affordable finger prick test for early detection of cancer.

It deploys gold-plated nanoparticles to latch on the targeted microRNAs (miRNAs). It also works in ultralow levels.

We are detecting small molecules found in 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, UNSW.

As per the study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team reported modifying gold-coated magnetic nanoparticles with DNA to match the miRNA they wanted to detect.

When circulated through the blood they capture the miRNA before a magnet is used to recapture the nanoparticles with the

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

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, Professor added.

The new diagnostic technique is affordable and faster than old techniques.

Our method takes 30 minutes compared with almost 12 hours for quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Professor added further.

The technology will likely to be available within three years with all the regulatory approvals.



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