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November 19, 2005

Jefferson and Delaware researchers combine tiny nanotubes and antibodies to detect cancer

By coating the surfaces of tiny carbon nanotubes with monoclonal antibodies, biochemists and engineers at Jefferson Medical College and the University of Delaware have teamed up to detect cancer cells in a tiny drop of water The work is aimed at developing nanotube-based biosensors that can spot cancer cells circulating in the blood from a treated tumor that has returned or from a new cancer. The technique has limitations. "We don't know if we can detect more than one antigen at a time on a single cell," Dr. Wickstrom says. Ultimately, the researchers would like to design an assay that can detect cancer cells circulating in the human bloodstream on a hand-held device no bigger than a cell phone.

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