Researchers design nano tool for new way of mining blood samples for cancer test

Minimally invasive blood tests have the potential to detect and monitor life-threatening diseases.

Researchers have designed a new nano tool which could become a new way of mining blood samples for information about cancer, according to a study released on Wednesday by the University of Manchester.

Minimally invasive blood tests have the potential to detect and monitor life-threatening diseases such as cancer. But the markers released into the bloodstream as a response to a disease are often difficult to detect because they are too small and too few in number, Xinhua news agency reported.

Representational image. Image courtesy: Franklin Institute

Representational image. Image courtesy: Franklin Institute

The study, led by researchers from the University of Manchester showed that small molecules -- specifically proteins -- stick to the nanoparticles while in the blood circulation of cancer patients. Collecting the nanoparticles from the blood can then allow the analysis of the sticky molecules, some of which are released from the growing cancer.

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

"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", said Prof Kostarelos.

The study has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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