Nanosponges harvest cancer markers

Molecular surface of several proteins showing ...
Molecular surface of several proteins
Image via Wikipedia

Imagine tiny little particles shooting through your bloodstream picking up samples of proteins. That’s what researchers have been able to do with a type of hollow nanosponge that contains “bait” molecules. One of the proteins these molecules attract is Bak, the increasing presence of which has a positive correlation with moles turning into melanoma.

Amazingly, scientists were able not only to capture bits of this rare protein—while keeping out the enzymes that would normally destroy those bits—but they’re also able to get the molecules to release those bits when it’s time to analyze the “catch.”

Given how critical early diagnosis is for successfully treating many types of cancer, this is promising work in nanotechnology.

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