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Monday Mar 27, 2023

Cancer cell markers can be identified by new transistors: Research

2022 Nov 06, 15:15, Tokyo [Japan]

A novel method that could significantly reduce the invasiveness of cancer testing has recently been developed, according to researchers from Japan.

Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have unveiled a new method for determining the cancer-related marker utilising breast cancer cell lines in a study that was published in September in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Finding cancer-related indicators is a highly effective method for determining diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment. These markers may now be found in patient samples like blood and urine thanks to modern technology, offering a non-invasive way to monitor and assess patients.

"Circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which are cancer cells found in the blood, are one of the main targets used to evaluate cancer patients' blood samples," states Miyuki Tabata, first author of the study. "However, it can be challenging to isolate these cells from the blood, and current approaches do not adequately detect both epithelial cell and mesenchymal cell markers, which are important for determining the stage of cancer."

The researchers employed a device known as an ion-sensitive field effect transistor (ISFET), which is a small electrical circuit that is activated by a change in pH, to develop a system that can swiftly and readily identify cancer-related markers on CTCs (and maybe other elements in the blood). These transistors were coated with breast cancer cells, and an antibody connected to a chemical reporter that changes pH when the antibody binds to the cells was then added.

"We found that the chemical reporter glucose oxidase successfully detected the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a marker of poor cancer prognosis, on CTC membranes," says Yuji Miyahara, senior author of the study. "Furthermore, the strength of the chemical signal correlated with the amount of EGFR expressed by the cells."

Importantly, these outcomes lined up with the EGFR levels found using other methods, showing that the ISFET strategy correctly detects the expression of cancer-related markers on cells.

"These results provide proof of concept that an ISFET-based system can be used to assess patient cancer status based on liquid biopsy samples efficiently," states Tabata.

This technology can enable high-throughput analysis of cancer cells at single-cell resolution due to the ability to make ISFETs that are the size of a single cell and assemble them into enormous arrays. Additionally, the simultaneous examination of numerous cancer-related indicators may be made possible by the use of various antibodies for the chemical enzyme detection phase. 


Cancer cell markers transistors science research Tokyo Medical and Dental University American Chemical Society
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