New nanotech gives boost to detection of cancer and disease

Early screening can mean the difference between life and death in cancer and prognosis. That's why researchers at the University of Central Florida are working to develop a new screening technique that is more than 300 times more effective at detecting biomarkers for diseases such as cancer than current methods.

The technique, recently detailed in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, uses nanoparticles with nickel-rich cores and platinum-containing shells to enhance the sensitivity of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

ELISA is a test that measures samples for biochemicals such as antibodies and proteins, which may indicate the presence of cancer, HIV, pregnancy, and more. When a biochemical is detected, the test produces a chromatic output that can be used to determine its concentration. The stronger the color, the stronger the concentration. The test should be sensitive to prevent negatives that may delay treatment or intervention.

In the study, researchers found that when nanoparticles were used in place of a conventional enzyme used in ELISA-peroxidase - that the test was 300 times more sensitive in detecting carcinomembranonic antigens, a biomarker sometimes colorectal Used to detect cancer.

And while a biomarker for colorectal cancer was used in the study, the technique could be used to detect a biomarker for other types of cancer and diseases, that is to say, an assistant professor at UCF's chemistry department and Study of co-authors.

The third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US is colorectal cancer, which does not count for certain types of skin cancer, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preliminary screening improves treatment outcomes.

The increase in sensitivity results from nickel-platinum nanoparticle "mimics" that increase the test efficiency of the test, thereby increasing its color output, and thus its detectability, Xia says.

Peroxides found in horseradish origin have been widely used in clinical trials to produce dyes for decades. However, they have limited response efficiency and thus color production, which has hindered the development of sensitive clinical trials, Xia says.

The nanoparticle "mimic" of peroxidase has been developed extensively over the past 10 years, but none has achieved the reaction efficiency of nanoparticles developed by Xia and his team.

"This work sets the record for the catalytic efficiency of peroxidase mimic," Xia says. "It breaks through the range of catalytic efficiency of peroxidase mimic, a long-standing challenge in the field."

"Such a breakthrough enables highly sensitive detection of cancer biomarkers towards the ultimate goal of saving lives through earlier detection of cancer," he says.

Xia says that the next steps for research are to continue refining the technology and applying it to clinical samples of human patients to study its performance.

"We hope the technology can be used in clinical clinical laboratories in the near future," Xia says.

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