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New Biosensor Developed to Detect Early Stage Tumor

New Biosensor Developed to Detect Early Stage Tumor

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  • Cancer is a killer disease that results in abnormal proliferation of cells against the body’s immune system.
  • New biosensor is developed by a research team from Complutense University of Madrid to detect tumors at an early stage.
  • The biosensor detects the antibodies from serum samples of colorectal and ovarian cancer patients.

A new biosensor that detects the tumor at an early stage was developed by a research team from the Complutense University of Madrid. The biosensor was capable of testing the defensive proteins in serum samples from patients with colorectal and ovarian cancer.

The method is faster and accurate when compared to traditional methods. Healthy cells were transformed into tumors when some protein expressions are altered. The immune system was found to produce antibodies against them. These antibodies are developed and detected before the disease is completely developed.


Susana Campuzano, Associate Researcher at the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), said, "Our immune system produces these cancer autoantibodies even three years before the first symptoms appear."

The research team designed a biosensor that can detect antibodies in serum samples from cancer patients and patients who are at high risk for cancer.

Efficacy of Biosensor
The serum samples of four patients with colorectal cancer and two of them with ovarian cancer who were treated with Puerta de Hierro and La Paz Hospitals (Madrid) were analyzed.

The biosensor was also used to analyze the sera from 24 patients who were treated at Universitario Clinico San Carios (Madrid) Hospital with developing colorectal tumors due to familial history of cancer.

The autoantibody content generated against the p53 protein was detected.

Jose Manuel Pingarron, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at UCM, said, "This protein is known as the guardian of the genome because it repairs DNA mutations, avoiding alterations in the cell cycle and the appearance of tumors."

The p53 protein is a tumor protein that will result in proliferation when mutated. And the immune system of cancer patients may produce antibodies against the protein and thereby depicting malignant transformation.

Rodrigo Barderas, Ramon y Cajal Fellow, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, said, "The presence of antibodies against p53 could be indicative of the existence of a neoplastic disease already initiated or of the risk of developing cancer in the near future."

The patients who had high probability for the cancers were found to undergo an exhaustive follow-up currently at the Hospital.

Benefits of the Biosensor
  • Biosensor showed a 440- fold high sensitivity and discrimination to detect antibodies from samples.
  • Simple Handling
  • Speed: It takes less than six hours to detect the autoantibodies
Applications of the Biosensor
The biosensor can be used to monitor the course of the disease in patients who produce autoantibodies to p53.

Antibodies for p53 protein returns to the normal levels when the tumor burden disappears.

Facts on Colorectal Cancer
  • Colon cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is more common among people who are above the age of 50.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
  • Advanced stage colorectal cancer is more likely diagnosed among African Americans and Hispanics.
  • There is a 50% chance of developing colorectal cancer in people with ulcerative colitis (ulcer and inflammation of the colon and rectum).
Ovarian Cancer
  • Ovarian cancer occurs in the tissues of the ovary (female reproductive system). 3% of cancer deaths in women occur due to ovarian cancer.
  • Around 140,000 people die due to ovarian cancer each year.
  • One out of every sixty women in the Unites States suffer from Ovarian cancer.
  • Women with harmful mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at high risk for ovarian cancer.
References :
  1. Rodrigo Barderas et.al 'Toward Liquid Biopsy: Determination of the Humoral Immune Response in Cancer Patients Using HaloTag Fusion Protein-Modified Electrochemical Bioplatforms' Analytical Chemistry; (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b03526
  2. Ovarian cancer fact sheet - (https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/ovarian-cancer.html)
  3. 5 Facts Everyone Should Know About Ovarian Cancer - (http://ovariancancerday.org/about-ovarian/5-facts-everyone-should-know-about-ovarian-cancer/)
  4. Basic Facts About Colorectal Cancer - (https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/basic-facts-about-colorectal-cancer)
  5. Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer - (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/ )

Source: Medindia

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