Nanowire Device Detects Cancer Markers in Urine


Analysts in Japan have developed a nanowire device capable of detecting microscopic levels of molecular markers in urine that might be related to cancer.

In a research published in the journal Science Advances, scientists centered at Nagoya University, Japan, have developed a nanowire device that can detect microscopic levels of urinary markers potentially implicated in cancer.

Cells communicate with each other through various different mechanisms. Some of these mechanisms are well-known: in animals, for example, predatory threats can drive the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that travels through the bloodstream and triggers heart and muscle cells to start a fight-or-flight’ reaction.

Extracellular vesicle (EV):

Extracellular vesicle (EV) is the far less familiar mode of cellular transport. EVs can be thought of as small ‘chunks’ of a cell that pinch off and circulate all through the body to deliver messenger cargo to different cells.

These messengers have turned out to be progressively recognized as crucial mediators of cell-to-cell communication. In the present research, a study group at Nagoya University has developed a medical device that can efficiently catch these EVs, and potentially utilize them to screen for cancer.

Assistant Professor Takao Yasui who is the lead author of the study said, “EVs are potentially useful as clinical markers. The composition of the molecules contained in an EV may give a diagnostic mark to certain diseases”.

Urine Test:

“The progressing challenge for doctors in any field is to discover a non- invasive diagnostic tool that enables them to monitor their patients on a regular basis, for example, using a simple urine test.”

Among the many molecules, EVs have been found to the harbor are microRNAs, which are short pieces of ribonucleic corrosive that play roles in normal cell science. Basically, the presence of certain microRNAs in urine may serve as a warning for genuine conditions such as bladder and prostate cancer.

While this important cargo could theoretically help doctors in cancer diagnoses, there are still many technical obstacles that should be overcome.

One such obstacle: finding a feasible method to capture EVs in sufficient quantities to analyze them in a routine clinical setting.

Yasui said, “The content of EVs in v is extremely low, at less than 0.01 percent of the total fluid volume. This is a major barrier to their diagnostic utility”.

Discovery Suggests:

“Our solution was to insert zinc oxide nanowires into a specialized polymer to make a material that we believed would be very effective at capturing these vesicles. Our discoveries suggest that the device is in fact very effective. We got a collection rate of more than 99 percent, surpassing ultracentrifugation and as well as other methods that are currently being used as a part of the field.”

To test the practicality of their device, the study group compared the microRNAs of EVs isolated from healthy patients with those isolated from patients who had already diagnosed to have bladder, prostate and other forms of cancer.

Prominently, their technique required just one milliliter of urine far not as much as the typical amount collected during a routine checkup and found a substantially greater number and variety of microRNAs compared and the standard ultracentrifugation approach.

Co-author Professor Yoshinobu Baba said, “Finding a specific, reproducible marker to help confirm a cancer diagnosis is difficult. This is notably true for microRNAs, which are a relatively new class of markers in the field”.

“Sometimes, finding only one reliable microRNA is considered as a success. Utilizing this approach, we were surprised to find that not only one, but rather whole combinations of microRNAs may be related to different types of cancers. The discoveries are preliminary, of course, however, we hope our device can help to lay the groundwork for easier ways to diagnose life-threatening diseases as early as possible,” he included.


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