Researchers use acoustics to boost … – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Armed with a novel biosensor that takes advantage of acoustic waves to detect tumour DNA,

Armed with a novel biosensor that takes advantage of acoustic waves to detect tumour DNA, an EU-funded undertaking could enhance the precision and affordability of most cancers diagnosis and assist make personalised procedure a actuality for additional individuals.


© Giovanni Cancemi #292099202 2020

Cancer is the 2nd most typical cause of loss of life globally. There have been 9.six million most cancers-relevant fatalities in 2018 – amounting to a person in 6 fatalities – and this number is predicted to rise by 70 % more than the upcoming two decades.

When it comes to most cancers diagnosis and checking, a non-invasive system identified as liquid biopsy has the prospective to outperform typical approaches this sort of as good-tissue biopsies, ultrasound scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With a simple blood examination, liquid biopsies identify DNA released from most cancers cells to expose a vast array of information and facts about the tumour. On the other hand, the method is rarely utilised for diagnosis due to the fact it continues to be laborious, inefficient and fairly pricey.

Enter the EU-funded Catch-U-DNA undertaking. The researchers associated have devised a new liquid biopsy system, which could pave the way to additional exact diagnosis and cut down the need to have for invasive good-tissue biopsies.

The novel and extremely-delicate engineering platform could also be utilised to keep an eye on individuals additional reliably and cost”effectively, thereby paving the way to additional personalised procedure.

‘We’ve focused on detecting of the BRAF-V600E stage mutation, which is presented in a variety of most cancers styles and has superior medical importance for personalised treatment,’ suggests undertaking coordinator Electra Gizeli of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at FORTH in Greece.

‘Our strategy properly and reliably detects a single molecule of genomic DNA carrying this mutation in ten 000 usual DNA molecules – all in about two hours from sample to end result.’

Sounding out a new system

At this time, blood serum gathered in a liquid biopsy should undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in get to amplify unusual, small fragments of tumour DNA (ctDNA) to the stage at which they can be detected.

The Catch-U-DNA platform identifies ctDNA utilizing the remarkably delicate allele-precise polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) assay, which only amplifies fragments of DNA that have the target mutation.

Scientists mixed this assay with their new acoustic wave biosensor, intended to detect small quantities of ctDNA and capable to analyse many samples throughout every operate. The amplified ctDNA is immobilised on the biosensor, foremost to the subsequent binding of liposomes (utilised to have prescription drugs or other substances into body tissues) on the device’s surface. It is this party that alters the acoustic signal and announces the detection of target DNA.

This approach of sensing target DNA – which avoids the need to have for pricey optical pieces utilised for typical detection utilizing fluorescence – is the central innovation of the Catch-U-DNA undertaking.

Proving the basic principle

‘We’re at the moment in the procedure of validating the engineering utilizing tissue and plasma samples from melanoma, colorectal and lung most cancers individuals received by our medical spouse, the University of Crete,’ suggests Gizeli.

‘Results so significantly are pretty promising. In the coming months, we’ll full our validation studies of detecting ctDNA from patients’ samples and within just the context of liquid biopsy.’

As the developer of the new acoustic platform and sensor array, AWSensors in Spain has strategies to commercialise the engineering for even further laboratory study, as effectively as for use in the medical discipline.

The undertaking comes beneath the FET Open up Horizon 2020 programme which supports early-phase science and engineering study into radically new future systems.