Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gold probes may offer valuable insight into cancer

Date:
June 25, 2013
Source:
University of Strathclyde
Summary:
Gold nanoprobes could allow scientists to study cancer cells in minute detail -- using a highly-sensitive imaging technique known as FRET microscopy -- with the aim of identifying tumor-causing properties. The nanoprobes could also be used to measure how effective medicines are, at a sub-cellular level of detail, while another application could be the identification of contaminants in food and water supplies.

Nanoprobes made from gold could be used to predict people's cancer risk -- and the effectiveness of treatments, following research by University of Strathclyde academics.

Related Articles


The nanoprobes could allow scientists to study cancer cells in minute detail -- using a highly-sensitive imaging technique known as FRET microscopy -- with the aim of identifying tumour-causing properties. The nanoprobes could also be used to measure how effective medicines are, at a sub-cellular level of detail, while another application could be the identification of contaminants in food and water supplies.

Dr Yu Chen, of the University's Department of Physics, said: "The technology could allow the simultaneous detection of multiple types of RNA related to cancer, which would then raise the possibility of scientists eventually being able to screen patients, in order to predict their risk of developing disease. By allowing us to see what is happening inside cells, we also hope this research will also lead to the development of techniques to study the efficacy of drugs."

Co-worker Professor David Birch, also of the Physics Department, said: "We are very excited about the potential applications of this multi-disciplinary approach, which harnesses expertise from physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and medicine. We hope it will lead to the development of a new generation of biological imaging and sensing techniques that underpin improvements in healthcare for a range of diseases."

The team also believes FRET microscopy with gold nanoparticles could be used to improve food and water safety. Co-worker Dr Jun Yu, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: "This new approach to imaging RNA at a single-cell level may also allow scientists to develop new methods to identify various microbes which may have contaminated food and water. Food safety is a global challenge and using novel nanoprobes to detect food contamination by various microbes will open up a new way of addressing this crucial issue."

Gold nanoparticles - less than 1000th of the width of a human hair - have a number of advantages over organic dye molecules that are used at present for studying cells with fluorescence microscopy. They are more photostable - meaning they are unchanged by exposure to light - are more sensitive because they can probe over a longer distance, and are less toxic to cells.

Dr Chen said: "The nanoprobes are based on a type of 'molecular handshake', called Fφrster resonance energy transfer -- or FRET, in which gold nanoparticles are linked with a fluorescent protein, via a hairpin-structured single stranded DNA. Upon interacting with the target mRNA in the cell, the hairpin structure dissolves and a fluorescent signal occurs -- enabling the tracking and quantification of the disease-related mRNA at a cellular level, even down to the level of single molecules."

Scientists believe they can be used to deliver other molecules, such as cancer drugs, directly to disease tissues -- bypassing normal, healthy cells. Also, they are economical to produce because they only use a tiny trace of the precious metal.

The 18-month project, backed with £119,000 investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach for imaging message ribonucleic acids (mRNA) - a kind of nucleic acid present in all living cells that carries genetic codes from DNA to make protein. By examining key mRNAs at a cellular level, scientists could be able to detect diseases -- such as cancer -- at an early stage, and to study how effective a particular treatment is.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Strathclyde. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Strathclyde. "Gold probes may offer valuable insight into cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625073740.htm>.
University of Strathclyde. (2013, June 25). Gold probes may offer valuable insight into cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625073740.htm
University of Strathclyde. "Gold probes may offer valuable insight into cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625073740.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
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