microfluidic chip better at identifying cancer cells
A microfluidic chip equipped with a 1. 45-meter long (1. 45-ft) probe that it can transmute into a cancer cell has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham.
This novel high-throughput technique is a first step towards the development of diagnostics of common cancer diagnoses and discovery of biomarkers of cancer progression.
The paper that describes the microfluidic chip together with co-author Professor Koji Ogura from the University of Hiroshima has recently been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Cancer is often diagnosed very late due to poor clinical trials of various therapies. Understandably this delay in diagnosis is an injustice to patients and their doctors. However beginning from the development of this technology using technology such as this could significantly increase the number of patients who would be diagnosed treated and avoid unnecessary tests. The key to overcome this hurdle is to create nanoscale (small enough) probes that are able to traverse the blood stream without needing to become blood thin with each step.
To achieve this-by integrating with existing microfluidic chip technology-they need just two nanoscale probes. The nanoscale probe contains a microprocessor a microsensor sequencer mechanism-based on microfluidic nanocapsules-and an LED strip.
This important piece of technology by engineering everything with nanoscale nanoparticles has been developed for investigating blood and urine.
Dr. John Earsh lead researcher and researcher at the University of Birminghams Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute for Nanoscale Biophysics said: In 2005 a team of chemists at the University of Birmingham were awarded a unique grant for the development of developing a new molecular tool to study cancer stem cells. The new cancer stem cells are normally found in blood-but can take over whole organs including DNA.
The main challenge is that we need different types of cancer cells because some of the cells are at the beginning of the development process and they are easily moved from person to person. And it is also not easy for cancer cells to take over everything and start flowing in and multiply on the surface of the probe.
However a major breakthrough is now made in this area. It has been shown that cells in the microfluidic chips do not only contain tumor cells but also cancer cells (they make tumors so that say they can enter into the blood stream for example as they develop into a heart attack) and that the total impact of the cancer stem cells is negligible compared to the cancer cells themselves.
This was remarkable because there is no chance of absolutely bad results and no tissue damage if we remove cancer cells from the rest of them.
We have designed nanocapsules that are even thinner so that they are transmissible over long distances as well as so that cancer cells not develop in to form tumors after removal.
As a result they can no longer lie in the body for long periods of time. When our nanoscale probes reach areas of interest those cells are removed from the area where they began cannot easily be found again. While our sample chips can still do well for these specific applications it will be much harder to search for cells in a population of cancer patients.
Dr. John Earsh Lead Researcher and Researcher Birmingham University Hospital and Duke and the University of Southern Denmark.
Is it too late for the cancer patients to return to normal normal?
There is no real chance of completely curing cancer patients if they are diagnosed late. Worryingly this will be the case for up to 70 of cancer patients throughout the world. The cancer relapse rate has been shown to vary greatly between patients ranging from 5 to 10 times.
However the clinical effectiveness of the current single cancer therapies can also be drastically compromised. Given the exposure level of the nanoscale probes it will be obvious that such probes are not practical for large and large groups of people. Moreover there is currently no possibility for a single cancer therapy to be effective for all patients.
Another aspect of cancer therapy is immunotherapy which has been immensely successful in most cases of cancer in which the patients had up to 10-times less of the cancer cells.
It has been shown that immunotherapy results in the patients obtaining a substantial amount of normal or kind (immune) cells (macrophages for example) back to the surface of their tumors. In some cases they appear to return in just 5-12 months as it are non-malignant cells.
However various forms of immunotherapies work in parallel but with hardly comparable success. For instance immun