7. This test can detect tiny ovarian tumors sooner than current tests
Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers have developed a way to detect ovarian tumors that are smaller than 2 mm in diameter, allowing for detection 5 months earlier than existing tests.
A synthetic biomarker, which is a nanoparticle that works with tumor proteins to release fragments into the urine for detection, helps the MIT-developed test create a much clearer signal that natural biomarkers in the bloodstream don’t offer.
Researchers had to design nanoparticles that were coated with small protein fragments to detect endoproteases.
The particles passively collected at the tumor site after being injected into a mouse. MMPs split the peptides to release tiny reporter fragments that can be filtered by the kidney and concentrated in urine. The fragments can then be detected from a variety of different methods.
To detect particles that are smaller than 5 mm in diameter, the researchers had to increase the sensitivity of the synthetic biomarker detector system. They used 2 new strategies to boost the sensitivity.