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Sunday, Mar 03, 2024

Gold Nanoparticles May Enable Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Gold Nanoparticles May Enable Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

Researchers in the United States have developed a new method that may detect ovarian cancer early by analyzing urine samples using gold nanoparticles.
Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University explained that the method showed promising results that pave the way for the development of a test to detect ovarian cancer. The findings were presented on Saturday at the Biophysical Society's conference in Philadelphia, United States.

When ovarian cancer strikes, cancerous cells grow in the ovaries, proliferate rapidly, and can invade and destroy healthy body tissues. Ovarian cancer, if detected early, can be treated successfully, and with appropriate surgery and chemotherapy, many women can live long and healthy lives. However, early-stage diagnosis of ovarian cancer is difficult due to its common symptoms, which can be attributed to other medical conditions such as constipation, bloating, and back pain.

Furthermore, there are no routine screenings for ovarian cancer as there are for other types of cancer, such as breast or colon cancer.

Previous research has shown that there are thousands of small molecules, called "peptides," present in the urine of individuals with ovarian cancer. Although these molecules can be detected using current techniques, those techniques are complex and not cost-effective.

Therefore, the research team sought a new approach to more easily detect these “peptides” in urine samples by using gold nanoparticles.

The researchers employed a technique known as "nanopore technology," which is a modern method used to analyze "peptides" and other biological and chemical compounds at the level of individual molecules.

This technique relies on very small holes nanopores in solid materials; the fluid containing the sample being analyzed, in this case urine, is passed through these pores. Passing the fluid results in changes in the ionic current or resulting electric current, which are measured using sensitive electrical equipment. This allows for the identification and analysis of the characteristics of the compound that is passing through.

To harness this technique for the detection of "peptides" found in the urine of patients with ovarian cancer, the researchers used gold nanoparticles, which can partially block the nanopores. As a result, "peptides" then attach to gold particles, making it easier for the team to identify them.

In their study, the researchers successfully identified 13 "peptides," including those derived from a protein called "LRG-1," which is a biomarker present in the urine of patients with ovarian cancer. They demonstrated that their new method is capable of simultaneously identifying multiple "peptides."

Based on the study results, the researchers indicated that their ultimate goal is to develop a test that can improve the accuracy of early-stage detection of ovarian cancer in the future.

They added that clinical data shows a 50-75 percent improvement in five-year survival rates when cancer is detected at its early stages.

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