Nanotechnology used to enhance cancer tests

11 July 2012

Posted by Satvir Bhullar

Tests for diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer have been made three million times more sensitive using nanotechnology, researchers in the US claim.

According to the team from Princeton University, they have managed to fine-tune tests so that they are able to detect the early onset of conditions.

The scientists predict the breakthrough could be used to enhance treatment of patients by revealing diseases in their early stages.

By employing nanoscience the specialists were able to enhance the immunoassay biological test by amplifying the fluorescence created when markers for cancer and Alzheimer's are detected in samples, ensuring they are not missed in patients.

Nanomaterial comprising a series of glass pillars in a layer of gold was used to produce a measurable grow that required around three million times fewer biomarkers to detect compared with conventional methods.

Stephen Chou, a Professor of Engineering at Princeton, stated: "This advance opens many new and exciting opportunities for immunoassays and other detectors, as well as in disease early detection and treatment."

He added the new version of the test is very easy to use as for those carrying it out there is no difference from existing methods.

Nanotechnology has also been employed by Indian pharmaceutical research company Venus Remedies to create its ready-to-use Single Vial Docetaxel formulation to treat cancer.

Available in three strengths, the new product requires a single dilution step before it is administered to patients, making it easier and safer to use, while also improving efficacy and penetration, and reducing side effects.

The firm is marketing the formulation in India under the brand name Taxedol and Venus Remedies claims it provides a "cost-effective solution to patients".

Docetaxel is incorporated into Taxedol in nanoparticle form, increasing the cancer cell-killing potential of the drug by 11 per cent in the treatment of a range of different cancers.

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