Researchers at the University of Illinois, US have developed a method to detect microRNA cancer biomarkers with single-molecule resolution.

The technique, Photonic Resonator Absorption Microscopy (PRAM), captures and counts cancer-associated microRNAs, known biomarkers for prostate cancer.

The research team, led by University of Illinois professor Brian Cunningham, collaborated with Moffitt Cancer Center professor Manish Kohli to test PRAM on two microRNAs.

By combining a molecular probe and a photonic sensor, PRAM maintains both sensitivity and selectivity while detecting the presence of cancer biomarkers in a patient’s serum.

Brian Cunningham said: “Cancer cells contain gene mutations that enable them to proliferate out of control and to evade the immune system and some of those mutations turn up in microRNAs.”

The probe has a protective cap that detaches when it detects and binds to the target biomarker.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

By binding to a photonic sensor, the exposed end of the probe produces a signal visible through a microscope, enabling the researchers to detect cancer markers.

This fast, inexpensive technique can detect even small quantities of biomarkers, researchers claim.

Cunningham said: “This advance demonstrates that it is possible to have an inexpensive and routine method that is sensitive enough to require only a droplet of blood.

“The results of the test might tell a physician whether a regimen of chemotherapy is working, whether a person’s cancer is developing a new mutation that would make it resistant to a drug or whether a person who had been previously treated for cancer might be having a remission.”

Researchers claim the PRAM approach could be adapted to different microRNAs or other biomarkers and is compatible with current microscope platforms.