Sensors may be able to differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells

| July 5, 2009

HealthDay (6/26,McKeever) reported, "Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst say they have developed highly sensitive sensors that pick up subtle differences on the surface of a cell that indicate if it is healthy or cancerous, even whether the cancer is metastatic or not." According to the joint paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the "sensors use the polymer PPE, or para-phenyleneethynylene, and three gold nanoparticles that tend to bond with the surface of chemically abnormal cells. When an abnormal cell surface grabs on to the gold nanoparticles, the PPE breaks off and glows," and the resulting "glowing PPE pattern helps scientists identify the cell type, as a cancer cell has slightly different proportions of biomarkers on its surface than a healthy cell." The authors say the next step involves testing "the chemical nose on real animal tissue, as opposed to cultured tissue," and refining "their ability to decipher the information the detection system gives them."

Category: Publications

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