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This new biosensor helps the early diagnosis of breast cancer

In 2020, 34,088 new cases of breast cancer in Spain, the type of tumor the most frequent among women in our country, according to the latest data collected by the European Cancer Information System (ECIS, for its acronym in English).

A team of Spanish researchers – led by the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) – has developed in the laboratory a prototype of a new biosensor with the aim of detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages. Their work has been published in the magazine ACS Sensors.

Mammography is the most widely used standard technique for diagnosis, but it has some limitations, such as radiation exposure and lower sensitivity and specificity in young women with dense breast tissue.

Currently, the mammography is the most widely used standard technique for diagnosisBut it has some limitations, such as radiation exposure and lower sensitivity and specificity in young women with dense breast tissue.

“For this reason, new diagnostic tools are necessary to help in the early detection of breast cancer. Our biosensor goes along this line ”, he explains. Ana Luch, of the Research Group of Biology in Breast Cancer of the INCLIVA Health Research Institute, of the Clinical Hospital of Valencia.

The development of this prototype of biosensor is framed within the field of liquid biopsy, that is, how through a blood test the presence of cancer can be detected.

New diagnostic tools are needed to help early detection of breast cancer. Our biosensor goes along this line

Ana Luch, Oncologist

Thus, the mesoporous biosensor developed by the UPV and INCLIVA team is simple to use, inexpensive and offers results in a very short time – between 30 and 60 minutes – from a plasma sample of the patient.

It is composed of a nanomaterial –A nanoporous alumina– that facilitates the detection in plasma of microRNA miR-99a-5p associated with breast cancer. Until now, this has been done with complex and time-consuming techniques, which means that they cannot be used as a diagnostic tool in the clinical setting.

How the biosensor works

Ramón Martínez Máñez, Scientific Director of the CIBER for Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBERBBN) and professor at the UPV, explains how the alternative diagnostic system in which they work works: the nanopores of the biosensor are loaded with a dye -rhodamine B- and closed with an oligonucleotide.

By doing so interact with the plasma sample, if it does not detect the presence of the microRNA, the pore doors are still closed. “Instead, in the presence of miR-99a-5p, those doors open and the dye is released. The change in the release of the dye can be correlated with healthy patients or with breast cancer ”, summarizes Martínez Máñez.

The authors point out that the next step will be to validate it in a larger group of patients and to continue working to make the detection system even more robust and easy to use.

Personnel from the La Fe Health Research Institute (IIS La Fe) have also participated in the development of this biosensor, where tests have been carried out for the validation of the new biosensors, and the Cancer Network Biomedical Research Center (CIBERONC) .

“The next step will be to validate it in a larger group of patients and continue working to make the detection system even more robust and easy to use,” they conclude. Juan Miguel Cejalvo, from INCLIVA, and Ramón Martínez Máñez.

Reference:

Iris GarridoCano, Luis Pla, Sara Santiago-Felipe, Soraya Simón, Belen Ortega, Begoña Bermejo, Ana Lluch, Juan Miguel Cejalvo, Pilar Eroles, and Ramón Martínez-Máñez. Nanoporous Anodic Alumina-Based Sensor for miR-99a-5p Detection as an Effective Early Breast Cancer Diagnostic Tool. ACS Sensors 2021 6 (3), 1022-1029 DOI: 10.1021 / acssensors.0c02222

Rights: Creative Commons.

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