Jun 18, 2019 10:06 AM EDT
A team of researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital is utilizing an innovative phenomenon of nanoparticles to develop a test for early detection of different types of diseases, including cancer.
Now a biomedical investigator in the Department of Anesthesiology, Morteza Mahmoudi and colleagues, with the aid of past investigations, has revealed that biomolecules in the blood of healthy people and patients form various corona profiles around nanoparticles.
Similar to dipping a donut hole in powdered sugar, nanoparticles collect a unique coating of proteins from the blood. Mahmoudi and his colleagues published the results of their study in Nanoscale Horizons, a peer-reviewed journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and they present evidence that these coronas are personalized and precise with different compositions or patterns in people with cancers.
Also, the investigators have developed a sensor array that has been tested on blood samples, both from people diagnosed with five different types of cancer as well as purportedly healthy people who went on to have a cancer diagnosis several years later. The researchers' goal is to develop an early detection test that could be used in the clinic to identify those at risk of cancer and other diseases.
The corresponding author of the study, Mahmoudi said that for cancer and many other catastrophic diseases, the earlier you can diagnose, the more likely you can treat and extend survival and attain a better quality of life. Mahmoudi started this work in 2014 at the nano-bio interactions laboratory at Tehran University of Medical Sciences as a former director of the place. He explained further that the goal here is to develop a strategy to help individuals get better information about their health. At present, there are ways in the clinic to measure lipids and predict the risk of cardiovascular disease, but limited ways for cancer. If everything goes well, they hope their work will lead to a screening test for the earliest signs of cancer.
As for the other diagnostic approaches, even though promising, the investigators' preliminary results will need to be validated in a more significant number of people to make sure the test not only works but also offers accurate diagnostic information. Also, Mahmoudi and his group are interested in applying the technology beyond cancer to diagnose other diseases at an early stage.
He noted that the only reason he is in science is to do something that can help patients. He said when he sees predictions about cancer, the number of new cases each year and its global burden, it excites him to think that the multidisciplinary expertise in nano-bio interfaces, sensor array, and advanced statistics may provide a way to help. There is so much potential here, and they are working to tap into it.
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