Posted on Jul 01, 2014, 6 a.m.
Portable enough to facilitate diagnoses in remote geographies, an ultra-sensitive nanodevice holds great promise in early and accurate detection of cancer.
Institute of Photonic Sciences (Spain) researchers announced the successful development of a "lab-on-a-chip" platform capable of detecting protein cancer markers in the blood using the very latest advances in plasmonics, nano-fabrication, microfluids and surface chemistry. Although very compact (only a few square centimeters), the lab-on-a-chip hosts various sensing sites distributed across a network of fluidic micro-channels that enables it to conduct multiple analyses. Gold nano-particles lie on the surface of the chip and are chemically programed with an antibody receptor in such a way that they are capable of specifically attracting the protein markers circulating in blood. When a drop of blood is injected into the chip, it circulates through the micro-channels and if cancer markers are present in the blood, they will stick to the nano-particles located on the micro-channels as they pass by, setting off changes in what is known as the "plasmonic resonance". The device monitors these changes, the magnitude of which are directly related to the concentration/number of markers in the patient blood thus providing a direct assessment of the risk for the patient to develop a cancer. Romain Quidant, project coordinator, comments that: "the most fascinating finding is that we are capable of detecting extremely low concentrations of this protein in a matter of minutes, making this device an ultra-high sensitivity, state-of-the-art, powerful instrument that will benefit early detection and treatment monitoring of cancer."
Acimovic SS, Ortega MA, Sanz V, Berthelot J, Garcia-Cordero JL, Renger J, Maerkl SJ, Kreuzer MP, Quidant R. “LSPR Chip for Parallel, Rapid, and Sensitive Detection of Cancer Markers in Serum.” Nano Lett. 2014 May 14;14(5):2636-41.