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The Ultimate Worlds | December 12, 2017

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A nanodetector literally illuminates cancer cells

A nanodetector literally illuminates cancer cells
Romano Abraham

A nano scale tool designed from DNA would be able to emit fluorescence in the detection of cancer cells.

DETECTOR : The eternal challenge treatments against cancer is to achieve closer target cancer cells ; in order to tackle the most efficient way to them without damaging healthy cells. The discovery by a team of bio- engineers from the University of Rome Tor Vergata and University of Montreal could help further refine the precision treatments such as diagnostic tools. These researchers designed an effect in DNA-based tool capable of detecting changes in chemical characteristics of cancer cells and indicate their location by the light from them. It could one day be used to target drugs to tumor cells.

A link between cancer and pH variations This nanodetector measure pH changes – that is to say, the acidity ( low pH) or alkalinity (high pH) – at the nanoscale . A large number of biomolecules , such as proteins and enzymes are tightly regulated by small changes of pH. And , in principle , the cancer cells have a lower pH than healthy cells. There is thus a close link between cancer and changes in pH. ” Detectors or nanomachines capable of measuring pH changes on this scale would be very useful for several applications in the field of in vivo imaging, clinical diagnostics and drug delivery ,” said Professor Francesco Ricci, co- author of the study.

Programmed to emit fluorescence ” DNA is the ideal material for designing sensors or machines operating at the nanoscale, adds Prof. Vallée- Bélisle, co-author. Use a specific DNA sequence forming a triple helix pH sensitive, we have designed a versatile nano detector that can be ” programmed” to fluoresce at a specific pH. ” Fluorescence is the emission of radiation in the spectrum of visible light caused by an energy exchange. ” This ability we have to ‘ program ‘ the detector is a key function for clinical applications We can design a nano detector which emits fluorescence only when the pH reaches a given value – a characteristic of a certain disease value ” says first author Andrea Idili. In the future, this newly patented nanotechnology could find applications in the development of drug administration platforms capable of releasing therapeutic chemical agents only in the vicinity of tumor cells.

Nano detector this could be very useful for the design of nano-machines for in vivo imaging and targeted drug delivery in cancer cells . The measurement nano detector least 10 nm and is designed to inflate to a specific pH.