April 23, 2014

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer gene segments in a living cell

Purdue University researchers have developed a way to detect and measure cancer levels in a living cell by using tiny gold particles with tails of synthetic DNA.

A team led by Joseph Irudayaraj, professor of agricultural and biological engineering, used gold nanoparticles to target and bind to fragments of genetic material known as BRCA1 messenger RNA splice variants, which can indicate the presence and stage of breast cancer. The number of these mRNA splice variants in a cell can be determined by examining the specific signal that light produces when it interacts with the gold nanoparticles.