Ricerca finalizzata - Ministero della salute

Cancer biomarker detection using micro-structured/super-hydrophobic surfaces and advanced spectroscopy techniques

BioNEM recently awarded the €181300 grant: ‘cancer biomarker detection using micro-structured/super-hydrophobic surfaces and advanced spectroscopy techniques’ (GR-2010-2320665) by the Italian minister of health.  
The main objective of the project is realizing multifunctional micro/nano devices which, combining mechanisms such as superhydrophobicity, SERS and MALDI-TOF spectroscopy, deliver the ability of detecting extremely low concentrated biological solutions, and thus the occurrence of a tumour.
A new approach is conceived, designed and realized for the early detection of cancer or other important pathologies. This approach takes advantage from the integration of (i) bio/chemical methods for the separation and capture of individual peptides from a digest of whole human plasma, and (ii) the use of nanotechnology based devices for the detection of these peptides with the highest sensitivity, reliability and efficiency. Proteomics studies proteins systematically, especially pertaining their structure and function. The goal of this project is thus providing proteomics with novel high tech procedures for the reliable early detection of cancers starting from serum, other biological fluids, or any sample obtained through minimally or non-invasive techniques. To do this, micro- and nano- systems are devised which deliver the ability of sensing few biomolecules/markers or, at the limit, a single molecule. On account of their microstructure, these systems are super-hydrophobic, i.e. they repel water, and thus if a drop is positioned upon these, it would assume a shape that resembles that of a sphere. The most practical property of SHSs is a reduced friction coefficient whereby they can be used, on the medical side, for the manipulation of diluted solutions of biological interest. The deployment of this technology in conjunction with biological methods and advanced spectroscopy or spectrometry techniques, including SERS and MALDI, would yield bio-devices that integrate several analytical functions on a single chip, towards the early detection of tumors. These bio devices will be verified against a very practical case, that is the recognition of PSA tumor biomarkers starting from very diluted solutions.