A detailed review has been published regarding the usage of nanoparticles in the detection of cancer cells and cancer biomarkers based on electrochemical and optical techniques.
Cancer diagnostic tests based on nanoparticles are fast gaining recognition as suitable alternatives to traditional methods employed. This technique despite having some drawbacks with regard to sensitivity, offers many more advantages such as point-of-care cancer diagnostics, low cost and easy to use methods incorporated into the sensing platforms.
A team of scientists headed by ICREA Prof. Arben Merkoci from the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN) along with Maëlle Perfézou from Cranfield University have reviewed this latest technique and this has been reported in the Chemical Society Review. It is essential to quantify the concentration of cancer biomarkers in serum, tissues or blood at high levels of sensitivity. Ideally, the perfect test should have even at the single cell /biomolecule level very low limits for detection and it should be capable of detecting multiple cancer biomarkers in one single test.
These methods are not only economical but they also require extremely low quantities of samples and all this facilitates widespread and regular testing. Moreover, these methods and materials based on nanoparticles can easily be included in user friendly devices. The immunoassays, which use nanoparticles are very sensitive and specific. Nanoparticles can be attached to a particular antibody of the protein overexpressed or biomarker at the surface of the cancer cells. The biosensor’s sensitivity and specificity is enhanced by this. Biosensors with nanoparticles could get attached to the cancer cells or biomarkers, even when they are available in only low concentrations in the serum at the early stages of cancer.