Researchers use acoustics to boost … – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Lincoln Wylie

Armed with a novel biosensor that employs acoustic waves to detect tumour DNA, an EU-funded project could maximize the precision and affordability of cancer analysis and enable make personalised therapy a fact for a lot more people.


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© Giovanni Cancemi #292099202 source:stock.adobe.com 2020

Cancer is the next most common induce of dying all over the world. There were being 9.six million cancer-related deaths in 2018 – amounting to a single in 6 deaths – and this quantity is predicted to rise by 70 % more than the future two many years.

When it comes to cancer analysis and checking, a non-invasive system acknowledged as liquid biopsy has the probable to outperform common techniques these kinds of as reliable-tissue biopsies, ultrasound scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With a very simple blood exam, liquid biopsies discover DNA produced from cancer cells to reveal a broad assortment of info about the tumour. Nevertheless, the procedure is rarely used for analysis due to the fact it stays laborious, inefficient and fairly pricey.

Enter the EU-funded Capture-U-DNA project. The scientists included have devised a new liquid biopsy system, which could pave the way to a lot more accurate analysis and lessen the need to have for invasive reliable-tissue biopsies.

The novel and ultra-delicate technological know-how platform could also be used to monitor people a lot more reliably and cost”effectively, thereby paving the way toward a lot more personalised therapy.

‘We’ve concentrated on detecting of the BRAF-V600E point mutation, which is introduced in several cancer forms and has high scientific importance for personalised treatment,’ suggests project coordinator Electra Gizeli of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at FORTH in Greece.

‘Our method productively and reliably detects a single molecule of genomic DNA carrying this mutation in 10 000 regular DNA molecules – all in about two several hours from sample to consequence.’

Sounding out a new system

At the moment, blood serum collected in a liquid biopsy need to go through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in purchase to amplify scarce, small fragments of tumour DNA (ctDNA) to the point at which they can be detected.

The Capture-U-DNA platform identifies ctDNA applying the remarkably delicate allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) assay, which only amplifies fragments of DNA that contain the goal mutation.

Scientists mixed this assay with their new acoustic wave biosensor, designed to detect small amounts of ctDNA and ready to analyse several samples during every single operate. The amplified ctDNA is immobilised on the biosensor, primary to the subsequent binding of liposomes (used to carry medicines or other substances into system tissues) on the device’s surface area. It is this function that alters the acoustic signal and announces the detection of goal DNA.

This technique of sensing goal DNA – which avoids the need to have for pricey optical parts used for common detection applying fluorescence – is the central innovation of the Capture-U-DNA project.

Proving the basic principle

‘We’re at the moment in the process of validating the technological know-how applying tissue and plasma samples from melanoma, colorectal and lung cancer people acquired by our scientific spouse, the College of Crete,’ suggests Gizeli.

‘Results so considerably are extremely promising. In the coming months, we’ll complete our validation scientific studies of detecting ctDNA from patients’ samples and inside the context of liquid biopsy.’

As the developer of the new acoustic platform and sensor array, AWSensors in Spain has plans to commercialise the technological know-how for even more laboratory exploration, as well as for use in the scientific subject.

The project comes underneath the FET Open up Horizon 2020 programme which supports early-phase science and technological know-how exploration into radically new potential systems.

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