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NYU-Poly Nano Scientists Reach the Holy Grail in Label-Free Cancer Marker Detection: Single Molecules
Date:7/24/2013

BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Just months after setting a record for detecting the smallest single virus in solution, researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) have announced a new breakthrough: They used a nano-enhanced version of their patented microcavity biosensor to detect a single cancer marker protein, which is one-sixth the size of the smallest virus, and even smaller molecules below the mass of all known markers. This achievement shatters the previous record, setting a new benchmark for the most sensitive limit of detection, and may significantly advance early disease diagnostics.  Unlike current technology, which attaches a fluorescent molecule, or label, to the antigen to allow it to be seen, the new process detects the antigen without an interfering label.

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Stephen Arnold, university professor of applied physics and member of the Othmer-Jacobs Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, published details of the achievement in Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

In 2012, Arnold and his team were able to detect in solution the smallest known RNA virus, MS2, with a mass of 6 attograms. Now, with experimental work by postdoctoral fellow Venkata Dantham and former student David Keng, two proteins have been detected: a human cancer marker protein called Thyroglobulin, with a mass of just 1 attogram, and the bovine form of a common plasma protein, serum albumin, with a far smaller mass of 0.11 attogram. "An attogram is a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a gram," said Arnold, "and we believe that our new limit of detection may be smaller than
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SOURCE Polytechnic Institute of New York University
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