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Yale researchers make breakthrough in detecting cancer

Cancer detection and a cure for the disease are two of the most widely researched areas in medicine. The detection and treatment of different type of cancers are being bolstered by research in technology with potential treatment using nanosensors among other things.

Researchers at Yale University have developed a new method of detecting cancer biomarkers in whole blood for breast cancer and for prostate cancer. The team of researchers used nanowire sensors to measure the concentrations of two biomarkers for the cancers.

The research team is led by Mark Reed, The Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Engineering & Applied Science, and associate professor of biomedical and chemical engineering Tarek Fahmy.

Reed said, "Nanosensors have been around for the past decade, but they only worked in controlled, laboratory settings. This is the first time we've been able to use them with whole blood, which is a complicated solution containing proteins and ions and other things that affect detection."

Using the nanowire sensors, the researchers were able to detect the cancer specific antigens with 10 percent accuracy in concentrations as low as picograms per milliliter. That doesn't sound particularly accurate until you realize that the detection of the antigens in concentrations this small is like being able to find a single grain of salt in a swimming pool.

The device developed by the researchers is a bit like a filter that catches the biomarkers on a chip and washes away the remainder of the blood. The nanowire sensors can also be used to detect other biomarkers for conditions like cardiovascular disease all at once. Before this process, the detection of biomarkers requires sending the blood to a lab in a process that took several days to complete. Using the new method developed at Yale the process takes minutes.

Fahmy said, "Doctors could have these small, portable devices in their offices and get nearly instant readings. They could also carry them into the field and test patients on site."



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Like PSA, but immediate?
By kaborka on 12/14/2009 1:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like it gives the same results as a standard Prostate Specific Antibody blood test, only it has an immediate result. As mentioned above, this finds the antibody before the cancer spreads.




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