Jul 092012
Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor...


Princeton scientists fine-tune test for early-stage cancer, Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists at Princeton University say they have used nanotechnology to make tests to detect diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, 3 million times more sensitive.

That means what researchers are calling a breakthrough in nanotechnology and medicine could enable doctors to detect these illnesses at much earlier stages, when they are more treatable.

“This advance opens many new and exciting opportunities … in disease early detection and treatment,” said Stephen Chou, a Princeton engineering professor, who led the research team. “You can have very early detection with our approach.”

Princeton researchers used nanotechnology to improve a biological test called an immunoassay, which measures the concentration of a substance in a body fluid sample, and is used to find markers for cancers and Alzheimer’s, in patients. The test produces a fluorescent glow when the disease is detected. The stronger the presence of the disease, the brighter the test glows.

However, if only faint, early-stage traces of the disease are present, the glow can’t be detected and the disease could be missed.

The Princeton researchers used nanotechnology to amplify the fluorescence, which gave them a 3-million-fold improvement in detection. It means the test now can detect disease with 3 million times fewer disease biomarkers present.

The earlier a cancer can be detected, the sooner treatment can begin, and the better chance a patient has of survival.

Read more . . .

via Computer World – Sharon Gaudin

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