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Nanowire Device Developed to Capture Cancer Diagnostic miRNAs from Urine

December 28, 2017

Researchers in Japan, Thailand and China have developed a microfluidic device containing embedded nanowires that can capture minute quantities of microRNA (miRNA)-carrying extracellular vesicles (EVs) in urine, as a potential method for noninvasive cancer diagnosis or screening. In tests on human donor urine samples, the device allowed scientists to identify cancer-specific urinary EV-encapsulated miRNA expression patterns that could represent biomarkers for urologic and for non-urologic cancers.

"EVs are potentially useful as clinical markers,” explains Nagoya University’s Takao Yasui, who is lead author of the researchers’ published paper in Science Advances. “The ongoing challenge for physicians in any field is to find a noninvasive diagnostic tool that allows them to monitor their patients on a regular basis—for example, a simple urine test … The composition of the molecules contained in an EV may provide a diagnostic signature for certain diseases." The published paper is entitled, “Unveiling Massive Numbers of Cancer-Related Urinary-microRNA Candidates via Nanowires.”

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