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Magnetic biochip spots cancer

  December 22/29, 2008
Combine magnetic nanoparticles and disk drive head sensors and you have a sensitive cancer detector.

The biochip uses giant magnetoresistive sensors like those that read data in disk drives. Instead of sensing magnetic bits, the sensors detect magnetic nanoparticles attached to protein molecules. The biochip captures protein biomarkers that indicate cancer and attaches magnetic nanoparticles to them.

The magnetic sensors can detect as few as 10 magnetic nanoparticles, which allows the biochip to detect small concentrations of the cancer-indicating proteins.

The biochip could be used for early detection of cancer and to track cancer treatment progress.

Research paper:
Multiplex Protein Assays Based on Real-time Magnetic Nanotag Sensing
Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, published online December 12, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
The Wang Group, Stanford University
Richard S. Gaster
Biosensors Technology Group, Stanford University
Drew A. Hall
Shouheng Sun
Robert L. White
Ronald W. Davis

Related stories and briefs:
Biochip scans blood for biomarkers -- related research

Back to TRN December 22/29, 2008

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