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 October 20, 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 October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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