Nanoparticle Urine Test Detects Cancer and its Location

Aug, 2021 - By SMI

Nanoparticle Urine Test Detects Cancer and its Location

A new study conducted by researchers demonstrates that a simple urine test diagnoses cancer and detects its source of origin by undertaking certain measures.

A new diagnostic system was developed by researchers at MIT in the United States to detect the presence of cancer by just performing a simple urine test. After the cancer detection in the individual’s body, the test could also find the source of origin of cancer in the body. When an individual gets infected to cancer, a specially designed nanoparticle in a body produces “synthetic biomarkers” in urine that detects cancer. The previous system of MIT researchers is built around this mechanism for cancer detection, however it couldn’t assure about the location of cancer tumors in the body.

Many cancer cells use enzymes called as proteases to spread throughout the body. They rapidly spread within the body in the form of extracellular matrix through proteins. Proteases damage the diagnostic nanoparticles that are coated in peptides, and restrict the production of synthetic biomarkers in urine. This functioning of proteases may lead to the late detection of cancer that may be hazardous.

The researchers experimented to overcome this limitation and detect cancer through urine. They tweaked the nanoparticle recipe. In an experiment, they put additional peptide as similar to those that tumors produce around themselves, which is attracted to acidic environments. This led nanoparticles to cluster around cancer. They also added a radioactive tracer called as copper-64 that gives the visible results under positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. This process leads to the gathering of the nanoparticles around the site of cancer tumors restricting the action of cancer cells and leading to early cancer detection.

The researchers stated that this method made tumors stand out better than commonly used PET tracers.  The method could also allow body organs to potentially wash out any nearby cancer signals. The washed out cancer signals are observed in the urine tests resulting in the detection of cancer cells as well as its source of origin.

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