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UCSB develops breakthrough technology in identification of prostate cancer cells
Date:9/19/2011

a rich set of colors when they absorb the laser light," said Braun. "This is different than fluorescence. This new technology could be more powerful than fluorescence."

The breakthrough is in being able to include more markers in order to identify and study unique tumor cells that are different from the main tumor cells, explained Pallaoro. "These different cells must be strong enough to start a new tumor, or they must develop changes that allow them to colonize in other areas of the body," she said. "Some changes must be on the surface, which is what we are trying to detect."

The team is working to translate the technology into a diagnostic microdevice for studying cancer cells in the blood. Cells would be mixed with nanoparticles and passed through a laser, then discriminated by the ratio of two signals.

The two types of biotags used in this research have a particular affinity that is dictated by the peptide they carry on their surface. One type attaches to a cell receptor called neuropilin-1, a recently described biomarker found on the surface membrane of certain cancer cells. The other biotag binds many cell types (both cancerous and non-cancerous) and serves as a standard measure as the cells are analyzed.

In this study, the team mixed the two biotags and added them to the healthy and tumor cell cultures. The average SERS signal over a given cell image yielded a ratio of the two signals consistent with the cells' known identity.

Pallaoro said she believes the most important part of the new technique is the fact that it could be expanded by adding more colors different particles of different colors as more biomarkers are found. The team used a new biomarker discovered by scientists at UCSB and the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute.


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Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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