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nanoparticles for biological solutions

Assaying blood samples for circulating cancer cells: a new application for gold nanoparticles.

A recently published paper (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07214-w) by researchers at the University of Queensland describes  how gold nanoparticles can be used to develop a simple 10 minute blood test for the detection of circulating cancer cells DNA. The test involves initially purifying DNA from the cells in the blood sample.The assay is based on the observation that cancer cell DNA is methylated in a different way compared to normal cell DNA. It was noticed that this allowed the cancer cell DNA to bind to gold metal surfaces and could stabilise gold nanoparticles, unlike normal genomic DNA. The researchers then took advantage of the well-known phenomenon that stable gold particles appear a pink/red colour whereas aggregated gold particles turn blue/grey and can sediment. By adding a high salt buffer the particles would aggregate and turn blue if no cancer DNA was present but remain pinkish/red if the stabilising cancer DNA was present. The test doesn’t define the type of cancer but could be used as a simple pre-screen test as samples from different cancer types proved positive with a success rate of 90%. This is a remarkable finding and shows the simplicity and versatility of gold nanoparticle technology keeps on developing new applications. This example shows how the incredibly complex task of distinguishing cancer cell DNA from normal DNA in a blood sample can be achieved  so simply with a bit of lateral thinking and understanding of the properties of gold nanoparticles. There are probably many more problems out there waiting for a simple solution that gold nanotechnology may provide.

11/12/2018 Posted by | Category 1 | Leave a Comment