Researchers reveal method to detect cancer biomarkers with blood samples

Potential method as a promising tool for simple and early diagnosis of cancer from liquid biopsies with low concentrations of biomarkers.

After sampling, the blood is tested for specific markers that indicate the presence of cancerous tissue. Photo Shutterstock.

Liquid biopsy, the sampling of nonsolid biological tissue such as blood, is gaining interest as a rapid, noninvasive method of diagnosing cancers.

Unlike traditional biopsies, which require surgery and often general anesthesia, liquid blood biopsy only requires a couple of milliliters of blood, with minimal harm to the patient.

At the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (Japan), a new method has been developed for miRNA pattern detection carcinogens based on DNA computer technology. The method has shown its potential as a promising tool for the simple and early diagnosis of cancer from liquid biopsies with low concentrations of biomarkers.

Cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer, is a type of cancer with a characteristically high mortality. At the time of diagnosis, most bile duct cancers are usually incurable.

That is why they are urgently needed methods for early diagnosis of bile duct cancer. After sampling, the blood is tested for specific markers that indicate the presence of cancerous tissue.

For example, specific microRNA patterns (miRNA), short non-coding RNA strands, are associated with different types of cancer and can be used to diagnose cancers from liquid biopsies with great accuracy. Nevertheless, the low concentration of miRNA in blood samples makes it difficult to detect.

“The computation of DNA uses biochemical reactions of the DNA molecules that encode information to solve problems based on formal logic, of the same way as computers normal. In this case, we designed a diagnostic DNA molecule capable of binding to five different types of miRNAs associated with bile duct cancer. In the process of binding the miRNA molecules, the diagnostic DNA converts the expression pattern of the miRNAs into the information contained in acid structure form nucleic,” explains Ryuji Kawano, one of those responsible for the research, which has been published in the scientific journal JACS Au.

To read this information, scientists use a method called nanopore decoding. In this method, the DNA passes through a nanometer-sized hole, or “pore.”

As the molecule passes through the pore, it obstructs the flow of electrical current through the pore. These current perturbations through the pore can be measured and used to deduce the properties of the passing molecule.

In the case of diagnostic DNA, the bound miRNAs will “snap off” the DNA, resulting in current inhibition of characteristic amplitude and duration.

By statistical analysis of miRNA pattern decompression data, scientists were able to recognize cancer-specific expression patterns even from clinical samples with extremely low miRNA concentrations.

This is a significant improvement in the field of nanopore diagnostics, as nanopore measurements have generally been considered incapable of detecting nucleic acids at such low levels, which has undermined the use of the technology in clinical applications.

Source consulted here.

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