A novel miniature diagnostic platform using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology is capable of detecting minuscule cell particles known as microvesicles in a drop of blood. Microvesicles shed by cancer cells are even more numerous than those released by normal cells, so detecting them could prove a simple means for diagnosing cancer. In a study published in Nature Medicine, investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Systems Biology (CSB) demonstrate that microvesicles shed by brain cancer cells can be reliably detected in human blood through a combination of nanotechnology and their new NMR-based device.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive brain cancer in humans. By the time it is diagnosed, patients typically have less than 15 months to live. One of the biggest challenges with this condition is accurate disease monitoring to establish whether patients are responding to treatment. Currently, the only way to diagnose and monitor GBM is with biopsies and imaging tests, making long-term treatment monitoring difficult, invasive and impractical. To address this need, the CSB team sought to develop a simple blood test that could be used to easily monitor disease progression. For more information please click here