A new system allowing us to detect proteins of cancer cells applies the same magnetic phenomena as those used to read and write data on the hard disk of computers. The Californian researchers of STANFORD’s university who developed this system hope that it will enable the detection of cancer in its most early stages, when it is easier to treat.
Cancers are visible on the examinations of medical imaging such as tomodensitometry, cancer cells release in blood small quantities of proteins , potentially revealing the disease. The researchers developed the means to find these proteins, mostly by locating them with fluorescent markers.
But while a biological sample, whatever it is, expresses a residual fluorescence, there are no underlying magnetic fields. The magnetic detection of proteins of cancerous origin could thus produce a signal of more precise interpretation.
The prototype developed at STANFORD detects the presence of specific proteins of the cancer of very low concentrations in the blood by capturing them on magnetic captors and by marking them with magnetic nanoparticles.
It is the coupling of biochemistry in a physical phenomenon which earned the Nobel prize 2007 of physics for his inventors.
During preliminary tests using markers of the colorectal cancer, this system showed itself twice as effective for the detection of proteins released by the cancer cells as the standard techniques which use the same antibodies with location by immuno-fluorescence.