Cancer diagnostic tests based on nanoparticles are gaining fast recognition as alternatives to traditional methods. Despite having some drawbacks with regard to sensitivity, the utilization of nanoparticle-based sensors offers many more advantages such as point-of-care cancer diagnostics, low cost and easy incorporation into the sensing platforms.
A team of scientists headed by ICREA Prof. Arben Merkoci from the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN) along with Maëlle Perfézou from Cranfield University have been successful in using nanoparticles to detect tumor cells and biomarkers based on electrochemical and optical techniques.
Nanoparticles can be conjugated to a specific antibody of the biomarker or of the protein overexpressed at the surface of cancer cells. This enhances the specificity and the sensitivity of the biosensor. Biosensors with nanoparticles are able to attach to biomarkers or cancer cells, even when these are in low concentration in the serum, at a very early stage of cancer.