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Nanotech-based sensor to speed cancer detection
November 30, 2015, 2:52 pm

A recently developed simple, ultrasensitive nano sensor could lead to new diagnostic strategies and holds out the potential for eventual treatment of pancreatic and other cancers.

Researchers at Purdue University Indianapolis have designed a novel, low-cost, nanotechnology-enabled reusable sensor capable of identifying and quantifying the levels of specific biomolecules in the blood associated with pancreatic cancer.

The sensor, which is able to detect even minute changes in concentrations of the biomolecule, microRNA-10b or other microRNAs in the blood, can help establish the presence of cancer in the pancreas. And, if detected early enough, this could lead to treatment of this particular form of cancer.

The new sensor is especially significant for pancreatic cancer, because the disease generally remains symptom-free for years, by which time it has spread to other organs and limiting surgery or other therapeutic interventions.

Over the past decade, studies have shown that microRNAs play important roles in cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. The new nanotechnology-based sensor can detect changes in any of these microRNAs.

The sensor is a small glass chip that contains triangular-shaped gold nanoparticles called 'nanoprisms.' After dipping it in a sample of blood or another body fluid, the scientist measures the change in the nanoprism's optical property to determine the levels of specific microRNAs.

The low cost makes this technique ideal for use anywhere, including in low-resource environments around the world.


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John Weaver  Posted on : December 02, 2015 11:53 pm
The photograph was taken in the Birck Nanotechnology Center on Purdue's West Lafayette campus, yet there is no mention of the BNC or even Purdue West Lafayette. The BNC is the cleanroom that enables nanotechnology devices at Purdue.

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