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

n an array of 64 sensors, each of which can be set up to detect a different protein, the researchers can search for up to 64 different proteins simultaneously during a single analysis, which typically takes one to two hours far less than most existing assays.

The researchers also demonstrated that the sensor is equally effective in every likely biological fluid, or matrix, that a doctor would want to analyze for cancer-associated proteins. Those fluids include urine, saliva, blood plasma (blood with the blood cells removed), serum (blood plasma with the factors that promote clotting removed) and cell lysates (the name applied to the cellular stew produced by dissolution of cells).

"The idea that you could essentially, on a single assay platform, measure a broad diversity of biomolecules that are at such a wide range of concentrations with such sensitivity is really, truly remarkable," said Charles Drescher, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington in Seattle, who was not involved with the research. "I think we'll all be very excited if this really does pan out."

The key to the versatility of the magneto-nano sensor and the broad range of concentrations it can detect lies in the use of magnetism.

How magnetic nanotags reveal the quarry

The basic mechanism of detection employed in the magneto-nano sensors is to capture antigens deleterious compounds produced and shed by the cancer cells using antibodies that naturally tend to bond with the antigens. The antibodies, dubbed "capture antibodies," are applied to a sensor, so that when the matrix of interest is placed onto the sensor chip, the appropriate antigens bind.

While the antigens are held fast, another dollop of the antibodies is applied. These antibodies are attracted to the antigens held on the sensors, and in bonding with them effectively seal the antigens inside an antibody sandwich. The researchers then apply a was
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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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