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New nano tool could lead to better cancer testing

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists have developed a new tool which uses tiny nanoparticles to mine blood samples for information about

The technology developed by the scientists at the in the UK for in depth analysis of blood allows the identification of previously unknown molecules.

Minimally invasive blood tests have the potential to detect and monitor life-threatening such as cancer, according to the research published in the journal of

However, our blood contains so much information it can be hard to uncover disease-specific signatures.

Markers released into the bloodstream as a response to a are often difficult to detect because they are too small and too few in number.

The study demonstrated that small molecules -- specifically proteins -- stick to the nanoparticles while in the blood circulation of patients.

"Inaccuracy is a problem in many blood tests which either fail to pick up biomarkers or give false positives or false negatives," said Marilena Hadjidemetriou from the

"We believe this could be a game-changer," Hadjidemetriou said.

"Fishing out" the nanoparticles from the blood can then allow the analysis of the sticky molecules, called a 'corona', some of which are released from the growing

"We want to amplify cancer signals in the blood that would otherwise be buried among all this other 'molecular noise'," said Kostas Kostarelos from the

"Our team hopes to discover panels of biomolecules that can point to early warning signs of cancer which will provide the basis for the development of new diagnostic tests," Kostarelos said.

The research illustrated for the first time the value and potential of nanoparticle-forming protein coronas in the blood of six patients suffering with

The patients were being treated with nanoparticles (liposomes) that are clinically used to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.

In another recently published study, the team demonstrated that this tool is very powerful for the discovery of tumour-specific blood biomarkers in tumour-bearing mice.

More studies in patients with are needed to prove the potential of this technology for tracking overtime.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 11:35 IST