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Magnetic nanotags spot cancer in mice earlier than methods now in clinical use
Date:10/13/2009

e magnetic detection technology used in the new biosensor were described last year in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the new sensor is not only more sensitive than the previous one by several orders of magnitude, it also outperforms its predecessor and detection methods now in use in several other ways.

Early detection of tumors in mice

The most impressive performance gain detailed in the Nature Medicine paper is that the researchers have now demonstrated that the magneto-nano sensor can successfully detect cancerous tumors in mice when levels of cancer-associated proteins are still well below concentrations detectable using the current standard methodology, known by the acronym ELISA.

"That is a critical finding for us because it says that in a realistic biological application that of tumor growth in mice we can actually see tumors before anything else could have detected them," said Sam Gambhir, professor of radiology at Stanford.

"I would say that the PNAS paper is proof of concept of the technology, and the Nature Medicine paper is proof of concept of the technology working in a real-world application," he said. "It is one thing to have the technology show that it can work in principle; it is quite another to actually utilize it with real mouse blood samples from a real mouse growing a real tumor."

In the Nature Medicine paper, the researchers show that the new magneto-nano sensor has a broad range of sensitivity, from the minute quantity described earlier to concentrations six orders of magnitude, or a million times, greater. The best existing analysis methods, or assays, in clinical use are able to detect proteins over a range of concentrations of at most two orders of magnitude.

Most of the sensing platforms currently in use are also limited to performing a single analysis at a time, but because the magneto-nano sensors are attached to a microchip i
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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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