Imec reports asymetric nanostructures for early and more accurate prediction of cancer

June 23, 2010

Researchers at the nanotechnology research center Imec (Belgium) have demonstrated biosensors based on novel nanostructure geometries that increase the sensitivity and allow to detect extremely low concentrations of specific disease markers. This paves the way to early diagnostics of for example cancer by detecting low densities of cancer markers in human blood samples.

Functionalized nanoparticles can identify and measure extremely low concentrations of specific molecules. They enable the realization of diagnostic systems with increased sensitivity, specificity and reliability resulting in a better and more cost-efficient healthcare. And, going one step further, functionalized nanoparticles can help treat diseases, by destroying the that the nanoparticles bind to.

Imec aims at developing biosensor systems exploiting a phenomenon known as localized surface plasmon resonance in noble metal (e.g. gold and silver) nanostructures. The biosensors are based on of a change in spectral response of the nanostructures upon binding a disease marker. The detection sensitivity can be increased by changing the morphology and size of the noble metal nanostructures.

The biosensor system is cheap and easily extendable to multiparameter biosensing. Imec today presents broken symmetry gold nanostructures that combine nanorings with nanodiscs. Combining different nanostructures in close proximity allows detailed engineering of the plasmon resonance of the . More specifically, imec targeted an optimization of both the width of the resonance peak and the resonance shift upon binding of the disease marker. With respect to these parameters, the new geometries clearly outperform the traditional . Therefore, they are better suited for practical use in sensitive biosensor systems.

“With our bio-nano research, we aim at playing an important role in developing powerful healthcare diagnostics and therapy. We work on innovative instruments to support the research into diseases and we look into portable technologies that can diagnose diseases at an early stage. We want to help the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry with instruments to develop diagnostic tests and therapies more efficiently;” said Prof. Liesbet Lagae, program manager HUMAN++ on biomolecular interfacing technology.

Some of these results were achieved in collaboration with the Catholic University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium), Imperial College (London, UK) and Rice University (Houston, Texas).

Explore further: IMEC reports robust technology to functionalize nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Related Stories

Detecting cancer early

February 1, 2010

A new testing method is being developed to detect cancer soon after the tumor has formed. It will identify characteristic substances in the blood which accompany a certain type of tumor. The first steps in the development ...

Recommended for you

Atomic blasting creates new devices to measure nanoparticles

December 14, 2017

Like sandblasting at the nanometer scale, focused beams of ions ablate hard materials to form intricate three-dimensional patterns. The beams can create tiny features in the lateral dimensions—length and width, but to create ...

Engineers create plants that glow

December 13, 2017

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk.

Faster, more accurate cancer detection using nanoparticles

December 12, 2017

Using light-emitting nanoparticles, Rutgers University-New Brunswick scientists have invented a highly effective method to detect tiny tumors and track their spread, potentially leading to earlier cancer detection and more ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.