Aussie scientists use gold nanoparticles to detect cancer cells
SYDNEY. KAZINFORM - Australian scientists have used gold nanoparticles to detect signals sent through the body by cancer cells, in a breakthrough they believe could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective cancer treatment, Xinhua reports.
Revealing their findings on Thursday, the scientists from Australia's University of Queensland explained that the gold nanoparticles helped detect and monitor extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the bloodstream.
By detecting the presence of cancer-derived EVs scientists can also track critical changes in the cancer itself as patients undergo treatment giving more immediate feedback on results.
«Cancer cells use the EV nanoparticles in order to manipulate the cells around them, as well as to suppress and manipulate the immune system,» Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) researcher Jing Wang said.
The reason that gold is such a winning material is that it helps doctors differentiate between healthy EV's, which are abundant in the bloodstream, and cancer EV's.
The gold nanoparticles emit a unique signal when hit with laser light, which can be used to detect an EV fingerprint specific to the patient and therefore distinguishable from cancer signals.
In a study involving 23 melanoma patients, using their method Wang and her team were able to correctly identify cancer EV's in the blood samples, as well as track changes in the EV's in response to each patient's cancer therapy.
«Our technology can reveal changes in the cancer EV fingerprint, so it could be used to quickly find out whether a therapy is working or if drug resistance is happening,» Wang said.
«This could guide cancer therapy in real-time.»
The team believes that this new technology could complement and even eventually replace more costly cancer imaging technologies and could one day become commonplace in doctors' offices around the world.