Nanoparticles can help detect cancer without biopsy: Study

Last Modified Wednesday, 15 August 2018 (11:57 IST)
A research team has developed a method to detect and diagnose cancers using coded nanoparticles.
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The research, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, opens up a new avenue in minimally invasive disease diagnosis.
The method has been successful in detecting multiple forms of breast in mice.
Yiqing Lu from Macquarie University in Australia said, “Currently, for diagnosis of many diseases such as cancer, they rely on medical imaging but ultimately need to take tissue out for testing. We would like to move that to a different approach using optical imaging.”
Fan Zhang from Fudan University added, “This technique has the potential to provide a low-invasive method of determining if is present, as well as the form of it, without the need to take tissue samples via biopsy.”
The study suggested that light absorbing and scattering elements such as blood, muscle and cartilage produce too much interference making it difficult to determine if a range of disease biomarkers are present.
The research team’s solution was to engineer special nanoparticles which emit light for a set period of time.
Lu said, “It is the duration of the light-emission and the biomarker reaction to this timed amount of light that produces a clearly identifiable molecular signature. This enables high-contrast optical biomedical imaging that can detect multiple disease biomarkers all at one time.”
A major limitation however is that only a single disease biomarker at a time is able to be distinguished and quantified in the body using this type of detection technique.
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