At MIT, a urine test for lung cancer was created. The development will allow you to refuse to take biopsies from patients, according to a study by scientists from the Massachusetts University of Technology, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Early detection of cancer is a key factor that can increase the survival of cancer patients. Although there are many diagnostic methods, scientists are working on new methods that allow faster and more accurate determination of the presence or absence of one or another type of cancer.
The technology developed by the researchers can be used as an alternative to computed tomography, which is commonly used to diagnose such diseases. CT makes it possible to detect tumors in the lungs, but gives a lot of false-positive results, mistakenly taking benign neoplasms as malignant.
The new analysis is based on nanoparticles that bind to enzymes known as proteases. These enzymes are the key to the survival and spread of cancer cells, allowing them to go beyond their original location by cutting the extracellular matrix – a network of molecules such as collagen and other structural proteins that surround cells.
Researchers have coated these nanoparticles with peptides that are natural targets for proteases. They are injected into the human body and attracted to the tumor, where the proteases tear peptides apart.
During this process, biomarkers are formed, which can then be detected in the patient’s urine. If these markers are not found in the urine, then the patient is healthy.