A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Takao Yasui and Professor Yoshinobu Baba from Nagoya University's Graduate School of Engineering, in collaboration with Designated Professor Atsushi Natsume from the Institutes of Innovation for Future Society and Professor Takeshi Yanagida and Associate Professor Kazuki Nagashima from the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, have developed a new analysis platform for extracellular vesicles (EVs). The researchers also discovered that by measuring the expression levels of membrane proteins from EVs captured by this platform, it is possible to use them as new indicators for diagnosing brain tumors.
Because EVs contain microRNA and membrane proteins associated with cancer and disease, they have the potential to serve as biomarkers for diagnosing cancer and disease. Large concentrations of EVs can be found in urine and blood in an unbroken and stable manner. Urine has the advantage of being easy and non‐burdensome to collect. However, conventional methods for collecting EVs from urine, such as ultracentrifugation, make it challenging to obtain large numbers from a small amount of urine.
To address this issue, the research team fabricated nanowires, which can effectively capture EVs in urine, onto the bottom of a well plate assay. They then developed an all‐in‐one platform that simultaneously captures EVs and detects their membrane proteins from just ten drops of urine. The EV analysis platform incorporates nanoscale rods (nanowires) placed at the bottom of the well plate to enable simultaneous EV capture and detection of membrane proteins. Using this platform, the team studied the expression ratios of two specific EV membrane proteins from urine samples collected from brain tumor patients and healthy subjects. Results indicated the expression ratios were different between the groups. The ability to analyze the expression levels of specific membrane proteins from EVs in the urine of patients with other forms of cancer may enable the early detection of various cancers, not just brain tumors.
Yasui commented, "Our goal was to establish a method for diagnosing brain tumors using urine. In the future, we aim to expand this technology to include other types of cancer as well."
Publication: ACS Nano
Title: All‐in‐one nanowire assay system for capture and analysis of extracellular vesicles from an ex vivo brain tumor model
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