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Urine samples can be used for early cancer screening

By Tim Sandle     Mar 10, 2017 in Science
Detecting cancer early increases the chance of survival. Many laboratories are undertaking research to help detect cancer early. One breakthrough is with screening urine from patients to look for indicator biological markers.
In a new study, researchers, led by Professor Yoon-Kyoung Cho who heads up the Life Science division at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, have developed a test to assess urine-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer. The test is a centrifugal microfluidic platform (called Exodisc); this is a device that isolates extracellular vesicles from urine.
Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived nanovesicles (very tiny, only 40-1000 nanometers in size). These vesicles are found in most types of body fluids. The function of the vesicles is to assist with intercellular communication. The vesicles are also involved with the transport of biological signals, designed for the regulation of diverse cellular functions.
The test method, a centrifugal mico-fluidic biochip, is a form of lab-on-a-chip technology. It allows for the integration of separating, mixing, and detecting molecules of tiny sizes in a single piece of platform. Professor Cho has taken the existing technology and demonstrated efficient isolation and analysis of nanoscale vesicles from cancer-patient urine.
In a research brief, the academic says: "Upon spinning the disc, the urine sample is transferred through two integrated nanofilters, allowing for the enrichment of unirary extracellular vesicles." Trails were undertaken on patients with bladder cancer and effective results obtained. The results were obtained within 30 minutes, thereby avoiding the need for a patient to undergo a cystoscopy. Early diagnosis, such as the new method, together with life-long surveillance are clinically important to improve the long-term survival of bladder cancer patients.
The biological markers screened for a termed CD9 and CD81 expression. It is hoped the new method can be used within the clinical setting and provide rapid and accurate diagnostics. Before this happens some additional studies are required. Longer-term it is hoped the method can advance tumor biology.
The new research is published in the journal ACS Nano, with the research paper titled “Exodisc for Rapid, Size-Selective, and Efficient Isolation and Analysis of Nanoscale Extracellular Vesicles from Biological Samples.”
More about Cancer, cancer detection, Urine, Biomarkers
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