Journal: Chemical Communications
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Pores for thought in cancer diagnosis
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Cancer diagnosis could be quick, easy and portable thanks to DNA-filled nanopores.
Fast, cheap and early diagnosis is a major goal in cancer research. One approach uses membranes with nanometre-sized pores that pick up molecules released by the tumour. Big molecules, however, such as proteins and enzymes, can block the nanopores.
A team including researchers from the East China University of Science and Technology made a nanopore membrane containing fragments of DNA designed to attract PSA, a common molecular marker of prostate cancer, and added a filter to prevent other molecules reaching the membrane. They applied an electric current to the membrane, which was blocked when a PSA molecule entered a pore, causing a blip in the signal. The membrane could detect minuscule concentrations of PSA in blood samples within 30 minutes.
These membranes could be used in portable devices for on-the-spot testing for cancer, increasing the chance of early diagnosis.
- Chemical Communications 53, 11564-11567 (2017) doi: 10.1039/C7CC06775E
|MOE Key Laboratory of Advanced Materials, ECUST, China||1|