Ultra-sensitive biosensor could detect diseases in their earliest stages

Could be easily reconfigured to detect biomarkers related to other diseases or viruses

A new ultra-sensitive test developed by scientists from the Imperial College London and Spain’s University of Vigo has the potential to detect the earliest stages of a disease, thereby giving any treatment the best possible chance of succeeding. The researchers claim their new biosensor test is capable of detecting biomarkers (molecules which indicate the presence of a disease) at concentration levels much lower than is possible with existing biosensors. While the new test has already proven capable of detecting a biomarker associated with prostate cancer, the team says their biosensor could be easily reconfigured to detect biomarkers related to other diseases or viruses.

The new biosensor consists of nanoscopic-sized gold stars suspended in a solution containing blood-derived proteins. Antibodies, which latch onto a biomarker when it is detected in a sample, are attached to the surface of the nanostars. In their study, the researchers used an antibody that latches onto Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), a biomarker associated with prostate cancer. A secondary antibody, which has an enzyme called glucose oxidase attached to it, creates a distinctive silver crystal coating on the gold stars that can be detected through an optical microscope, thus signaling that PSA is present.

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via Gizmag – 

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