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Breakthrough paper test for diagnosing cancer early

A nanoparticle sensor can offer early cancer diagnosis from a simple urine test

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new nanoparticle sensor that shows promise for early diagnosis of cancer via a simple urine test. The sensor can also detect a variety of cancerous proteins, which can differentiate the type of tumour or its response to treatment.

Typically, the nanoparticles in the sensor would be designed to quickly release short DNA sequences upon contact with a tumour, which can be detected in the patient’s urine. By analysing these sequences, the tumour’s specific features can be identified. Importantly, the test is conducted on a simple paper strip, which resembles a basic home Covid test, making it cheap and highly accessible.

“We are trying to innovate in a context of making technology available to low- and middle-resource settings. Putting this diagnostic on paper is part of our goal of democratizing diagnostics and creating inexpensive technologies that can give you a fast answer at the point of care,” said Sangeeta Bhatia, a senior author of the study.

Researchers tested the sensors on five different enzymes expressed in tumours, validating that the approach can be used on distinct DNA signals in a single sample using a microfluidic device. This signal identification serves to build up disease signatures and further distinguish different cancer types. Additionally, the scientists may need to use more than five such markers to further increase the test’s effectiveness as cancers vary in complex ways even between patients.

This type of testing could be used also be to measure how a patient’s tumour is responding to treatment and whether it has recurred after treatment.

Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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