Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Technology For Cancer Screening Listens For The Signs Of Cancer

Date:
September 22, 2007
Source:
American Association for Cancer Research
Summary:
Cancer-sensing devices built as cheaply and efficiently as wristwatches -- using many of the same operating principles -- could change the way clinicians detect, treat and monitor cancer in patients. Researchers have created an acoustic sensor that can report the presence of small amounts of mesothelin, a molecule associated with a number of cancers including mesothelioma, as they attach to the sensor's surface.

ACuRay sensor chip developed by Georgia Tech researchers for early detection of cancer.
Credit: AACR

Cancer-sensing devices built as cheaply and efficiently as wristwatches -- using many of the same operating principles -- could change the way clinicians detect, treat and monitor cancer in patients.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created an acoustic sensor that can report the presence of small amounts of mesothelin, a molecule associated with a number of cancers including mesothelioma, as they attach to the sensor's surface.

According to the researchers, the study is a proof of principle, demonstrating a technique that might work for the detection of nearly any biomarker -- a collective term for a molecular signal that denotes the presence of disease.

"It is one thing to be able to identify biomarkers for a disease, but it is another to be able to find them in blood quickly and easily at very low concentrations," said Anthony Dickherber, a graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech. "We envision that, one day, doctors can use an array of our sensors as a sort of laboratory in their office, where they could use a quick blood sample to detect or monitor the signs of cancer."

According to Christopher Corso, the other graduate student engaged in the project and an M.D., Ph.D. student, such a device would be a boon to healthcare practice, allowing physicians to screen patients for signs of disease before opting for more expensive or invasive diagnostic techniques.

Responding to the growing need for such sensors in both research and clinical practice, Dickherber, Corso and research adviser William D. Hunt, Ph.D., conceived of and developed the ACuRay™ chip, standing for ACoustic micro-arRay -- a device that shares more in common with an inexpensive wristwatch than the sort of cutting edge molecule-sorting apparatuses currently used by researchers and clinical laboratory technicians.

The array consists of a series of electrodes deposited on the surface of a thin film of zinc oxide, which allows the device to resonate, or vibrate, at a specific frequency when a current is applied, much like the quartz timing devices used in many clocks and watches.

"The sensor itself is built on a base of silicon, like a computer chip, and could be mass-produced using very well known and inexpensive microelectronic fabrication techniques," Dickherber said.

To turn this array into a sensor, the Georgia Tech researchers coated the zinc oxide surface with mesothelin-specific antibodies generated in the lab of Ira Pastan, M.D., at the National Cancer Institute. These molecules are engineered versions of the antibodies the immune system creates to identify foreign intruders, such as microbial parasites. In this study, the researchers coated the sensor with antibodies for mesothelin, a cell-surface protein that is highly expressed in mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and other malignancies.

When the mesothelin binds to an antibody, the added mass changes the frequency at which the acoustic wave passes between the electrodes on the surface of the device. The device is able to "hear" the pitch change due to nanomolar concentrations of mesothelin (just a few molecules amid billions) binding to antibodies on the chip. The technology has the potential of detecting biomarkers in even lower concentrations than those tested, Dickherber said.

"It is really an elegant engineering solution to a very complicated problem," said Hunt, a professor of electrical and computer at Georgia Tech and lead researcher on the project. "We could, for example, detect a number of different markers for a single disease on a single chip no bigger than the tip of a fountain pen. With refinement, this technology could readily lead to an inexpensive, ubiquitous technology for researchers, physicians and the clinical laboratory."

The researchers recently presented their findings in Atlanta, Georgia at the American Association for Cancer Research's second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development.

This research is supported by grants from the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command Prostate Cancer Research Program, the National Science Foundation, The V Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the Georgia Cancer Coalition.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for Cancer Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for Cancer Research. "New Technology For Cancer Screening Listens For The Signs Of Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070918144313.htm>.
American Association for Cancer Research. (2007, September 22). New Technology For Cancer Screening Listens For The Signs Of Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070918144313.htm
American Association for Cancer Research. "New Technology For Cancer Screening Listens For The Signs Of Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070918144313.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins