Nano Cancer Probes

Nano Cancer Probes

Author: Susanne Müller

Nanoprobes are used to detect tumor markers in living cells. Cancer commonly involves multiple types of tumor markers and the expression levels of these markers change dynamically in tumor progression. To help detect, understand, and predict cancer, researchers try to monitor the alterations of multiple tumor markers in living cells, however, simultaneous detection of more than one tumor marker is very difficult and complex.

Bo Tang and colleagues, Shandong Normal University, China, have developed a nanoprobe that can simultaneously monitor multiple tumor-related markers, specifically mRNAs and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), of different cancer cells. They used gold nanoparticles with a dense shell of synthetic DNA molecular beacons (MBs) and peptides. The MB was designed to form a unique stem–loop configuration.

The nanoprobe could discriminate between cancer cells and normal cells and signal the presence of target mRNAs and MMPs with the open form of the stem–loop structure of MBs and the cleavage of peptides. Changes in the expression levels of markers in living cells could be determined, which will be beneficial for evaluating the stage of tumor progression and making treatment decisions.


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