Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Finding a few foes among billions of cellular friends

Date:
February 26, 2014
Source:
University of South Carolina
Summary:
Beating cancer is all about early detection, and new research is another step forward in catching the disease early. A team of chemists is reporting a new way to detect just a handful of lurking tumor cells, which can be outnumbered a billion to one in the bloodstream by healthy cells. The researchers have constructed an ultrasensitive nanoprobe that can electrochemically sense as few as four circulating tumor cells, and it doesn't require any enzymes to produce a detectable signal.

Beating cancer is all about early detection, and new research from the University of South Carolina is another step forward in catching the disease early. A team of chemists is reporting a new way to detect just a handful of lurking tumor cells, which can be outnumbered a billion to one in the bloodstream by healthy cells.

The researchers have constructed an ultrasensitive nanoprobe that can electrochemically sense as few as four circulating tumor cells, and it doesn't require any enzymes to produce a detectable signal.

"That makes it a very robust system," says Hui Wang, a chemist in the university's College of Arts and Sciences who led the research team with South Carolina colleague Qian Wang and Jun-Jie Zhu of Nanjing University. "We show that it's much less sensitive to pH and temperature than the natural enzyme horseradish peroxidase, a traditional means of enhancing sensitivity."

Cancer can metastasize by releasing tumor cells that are capable of spreading the disease to new parts of the body. But the circulating cells also represent a golden opportunity for modern medicine: detecting them in a patient is a telltale sign of a tumor.

They're tough to find, though. In a billion blood cells, there might be just one circulating tumor cell that could trip an alarm.

The enzyme-free detection system is based on the electrochemical properties of Fe3O4 nanoparticles, which since 2007 have been known to mimic the peroxide-reducing capacity of horseradish peroxidase. Wang's team was surprised to find that the nanoparticles could also catalyze the electrochemical reduction of small dye molecules, such as thionine, even in the absence of peroxide.

Wang and his team recently reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society how they decorated Fe3O4 beads with bimetallic nanocages to create a hybrid electrocatalyst. Circulating tumor cells that were trapped onto an electrode surface with cell-targeting aptamers were detected by cyclic voltammetry of thionine. The system had a wide linear response range and a detection limit down to just a few cells.

There's still a long way to go to get a device into the clinic, but Wang can see the potential of the sturdy inorganic nanoprobes.

"We can actually quantify the biomarkers expressed on cancer cells, and because the expression levels on the cancer cells are quite different from the normal cells, we can actually identify the cancer cells," he says. "Since the sensitivity is really high, if you have low-abundance cancer cells in the body, we should be able to detect them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of South Carolina. The original article was written by Steven Powell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tingting Zheng, Qingfeng Zhang, Sheng Feng, Jun-Jie Zhu, Qian Wang, Hui Wang. Robust Nonenzymatic Hybrid Nanoelectrocatalysts for Signal Amplification toward Ultrasensitive Electrochemical Cytosensing. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014; 136 (6): 2288 DOI: 10.1021/ja500169y

Cite This Page:

University of South Carolina. "Finding a few foes among billions of cellular friends." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226133002.htm>.
University of South Carolina. (2014, February 26). Finding a few foes among billions of cellular friends. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226133002.htm
University of South Carolina. "Finding a few foes among billions of cellular friends." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226133002.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million Within 4 Months

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Health officials warn that without further intervention, the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 1.4 million by January. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. 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