Armed with a novel biosensor that utilizes acoustic waves to detect tumour DNA, an EU-funded challenge could maximize the precision and affordability of cancer prognosis and help make personalised treatment method a reality for a lot more people.


© Giovanni Cancemi #292099202 2020

Cancer is the 2nd most common cause of loss of life worldwide. There ended up 9.six million cancer-associated fatalities in 2018 – amounting to a single in 6 fatalities – and this variety is predicted to increase by 70 {312eb768b2a7ccb699e02fa64aff7eccd2b9f51f6a579147b7ed58dbcded82a2} around the up coming two a long time.

When it will come to cancer prognosis and checking, a non-invasive method recognised as liquid biopsy has the opportunity to outperform regular strategies this sort of as solid-tissue biopsies, ultrasound scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With a straightforward blood exam, liquid biopsies determine DNA released from cancer cells to expose a broad vary of information and facts about the tumour. Having said that, the treatment is almost never applied for prognosis mainly because it remains laborious, inefficient and reasonably expensive.

Enter the EU-funded Capture-U-DNA challenge. The scientists associated have devised a new liquid biopsy method, which could pave the way to a lot more precise prognosis and decrease the want for invasive solid-tissue biopsies.

The novel and ultra-sensitive know-how platform could also be applied to keep track of people a lot more reliably and cost”effectively, therefore paving the way in direction of a lot more personalised treatment method.

‘We’ve targeted on detecting of the BRAF-V600E point mutation, which is offered in various cancer varieties and has superior clinical importance for personalised therapy,’ suggests challenge coordinator Electra Gizeli of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at FORTH in Greece.

‘Our solution productively and reliably detects a single molecule of genomic DNA carrying this mutation in 10 000 normal DNA molecules – all in about two several hours from sample to outcome.’

Sounding out a new method

Now, blood serum collected in a liquid biopsy need to go through polymerase chain response (PCR) in buy to amplify unusual, small fragments of tumour DNA (ctDNA) to the point at which they can be detected.

The Capture-U-DNA platform identifies ctDNA applying the extremely sensitive allele-specific polymerase chain response (AS-PCR) assay, which only amplifies fragments of DNA that include the concentrate on mutation.

Scientists blended this assay with their new acoustic wave biosensor, intended to detect small amounts of ctDNA and capable to analyse several samples for the duration of every single operate. The amplified ctDNA is immobilised on the biosensor, main to the subsequent binding of liposomes (applied to carry medications or other substances into overall body tissues) on the device’s surface area. It is this occasion that alters the acoustic signal and announces the detection of concentrate on DNA.

This method of sensing concentrate on DNA – which avoids the want for expensive optical areas applied for regular detection applying fluorescence – is the central innovation of the Capture-U-DNA challenge.

Proving the principle

‘We’re presently in the method of validating the know-how applying tissue and plasma samples from melanoma, colorectal and lung cancer people attained by our clinical associate, the University of Crete,’ suggests Gizeli.

‘Results so much are very promising. In the coming months, we’ll complete our validation scientific tests of detecting ctDNA from patients’ samples and in the context of liquid biopsy.’

As the developer of the new acoustic platform and sensor array, AWSensors in Spain has programs to commercialise the know-how for further more laboratory investigate, as effectively as for use in the clinical area.

The challenge will come less than the FET Open Horizon 2020 programme which supports early-phase science and know-how investigate into radically new foreseeable future systems.