A team of researchers in Japan have developed a new device to identify a key membrane protein in the urine that indicates if the patient has a brain tumour.
A research group led by Associate Professor Takao Yasui and Professor Yoshinobu Baba of Japan-based Nagoya University in collaboration with the University of Tokyo has developed a new analysis platform for brain tumour EVs using nanowires at the bottom of a well plate.
They used this device to identify two types of extracellular vesicle (EV) membrane proteins known as CD31 and CD63 in urine samples from brain tumour patients.
Doctors may be able to identify tumour patients before they develop symptoms if they look for these tell-tale proteins. The presence of tumour-related extracellular vesicles (EVs) in a person's urine is one possible sign that they have a brain tumour.
EVs are nanoparticles that perform a variety of functions, including cell-to-cell communication. "Currently, EV isolation and detection methods require more than two instruments and an assay to isolate and then detect EVs," said Yasui.
Moreover, the researchers believe that the key membrane protein present in the urine could be used to detect brain cancer, eliminating the need for invasive tests and increasing the likelihood of tumours being detected early enough for surgery.
"Liquid biopsy can be performed using many body fluids, but blood tests are invasive," Yasui said. "Urine tests are an effective, simple, and non-invasive method because the urine contains many informative biomolecules that can be traced back to identify the disease," he added.