In an astonishing development, scientists have created a device that can identify key membrane protein which can be used to detect brain tumours.
According to the scientists, with the help of this device invasive tests can be avoided to detect the tumours. The findings of the study, conducted by researchers of Nagoya University in Japan, were recently published in the journal ACS Nano.
According to the scientists, these findings will help in finding ways to detect other types of cancers. The team of researchers found that the presence of tumour-related extracellular vesicles (EVs) in one’s urine could be a possible sign that the person has a brain tumour.
Interestingly, EVs found in brain cancer patients have specific types of RNA and membrane proteins and they could be used to detect the presence of cancer and its progression.
According to a statement released by Nagoya University, Takao Yasui, one of the authors on the paper, said liquid biopsy can be performed using many body fluids, and that urine testing has many advantages. He stated that urine tests are an effective, simple and non-invasive method.
The new analysis platform for brain tumour EVs uses nanowires at the bottom of a well plate. During the study the scientists identified two specific types of EV membrane proteins from urine samples of brain tumour patients, using the device. These membrane proteins are known as CD31 and CD63. If doctors can detect these tell-tale proteins, they will be able to identify tumour patients before they develop symptoms, the scientists claim.
According to Yasui, currently, EV isolation and detection methods require more than two instruments and an assay to isolate and then detect EVs. However, the all-in-one nanowire assay can isolate and detect EVs using one simple procedure, he added.
Yasui also claimed that users can run samples through the nanowire assay and change the detection part, by selectively modifying it to detect specific membrane proteins or miRNAs (microRNAs) inside EVs to detect other types of cancer in the future.
The researchers expect to advance the analysis of the expression levels of specific membrane proteins in patients’ urinary EVs, which will enable the early detection of different types of cancer.