Specific Phage based Digital Biomolecular Sensor for Breast Cancer

Sensitive and Specific Phage-based Digital Biomolecular Sensor for Breast Cancer

In the ongoing battle against breast cancer, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have unveiled a revolutionary system that promises to redefine breast cancer detection. The Phage-based Digital Biomolecular Sensor (P-DBS) represents a leap forward in sensitivity and speed, offering a potential game-changer for early cancer diagnosis and monitoring. We have written before about how phages can be used to monitor diseases.

Survival rates in breast cancer hinge on early detection, emphasizing the urgent need for advanced diagnostic tools. Scientist from SUTD underscored the challenges associated with current diagnostic techniques, citing issues of inaccuracies, high costs, and time-consuming processes, particularly in imaging tests.

In response to these challenges, they embarked on a mission to create a platform capable of identifying and treating breast cancer before symptoms manifest. At the core of their innovation is the P-DBS system, a fusion of highly conductive nanomaterial tungsten disulfide and a viral phage mechanism designed to significantly enhance the accuracy of breast cancer cell detection.

Traditional digital biomolecular sensors (DBS) have shown efficacy in assessing cell-based interactions but fall short in detecting low cell-population cancer types. The P-DBS system addresses this limitation, achieving a remarkable detection limit of 12 cells per μL, a contrast of 1.25 between different cell types, and an impressive reading length of 200 μs.

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The P-DBS system's specificity is pivotal, driven by the integration of viral proteins that assemble readily on the surface of breast cancer cells. This shape complementarity effect enables ultra-accurate sampling, facilitating the detection of even the smallest number of cancer cells—an imperative for early cancer diagnosis and disease progression monitoring.

Remarkably, the P-DBS system outperformed other electrical-based cancer sensors, identifying cancer cell presence in samples approximately 74% smaller than typical cell group sizes. Furthermore, it exhibited a 58% improvement in signal contrast, meeting all four criteria essential for clinical effectiveness: high sensitivity, marked contrast in output signals, high cell viability, and rapid results.

The transformative potential of the P-DBS technology in the fight against breast cancer is evident, marking a significant advancement. Ongoing clinical studies aim to validate its efficacy across different breast cancer cell types, with the ultimate goal of establishing the P-DBS system as a valuable and accurate tool for early cancer detection.

Engineered phages: The future of bioremediation?

In the realm of nanoscale biomolecular sensors, the P-DBS system offers hope for early cancer diagnosis, staging, and monitoring, representing a compelling leap forward in the quest for ultra-sensitive cancer cell detection and ushering in a new era in breast cancer diagnostics.

Read full study Meivita, M. P., Go, S. X., Mozar, F. S., Li, L., Tan, Y. S., Bajalovic, N., & Loke, D. K. (2023). Shape complementarity processes for ultrashort-burst sensitive M13–PEG–WS 2-powered MCF-7 cancer cell sensors. Nanoscale15(41), 16658-16668. Credit: Cover photo is from the original paper.

About the author

Hello there!

I'm Raphael Hans Lwesya. I have a deep interest in phage research and science communication. I strive to simplify complex ideas and present the latest phage-related research in an easy-to-digest format. Thank you for visiting The Phage blog. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me at [email protected].

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