Despite recent advances in cancer treatment, early diagnosis remains a major factor in increasing the chance of a cure. There is currently an urgent need for new screening methods for various types of cancer and this is the objective of our research. Mistakes in cancer cells during the DNA copying process lead to damage that causes release of DNA into the serum. These tumour-derived nucleic acids that circulate in the blood of cancer patients but not in healthy individuals can be used as targets for new diagnostic techniques. We are developing miniature (microfluidic) devices to manipulate different cancer-related DNA strands and capture them with chemically synthesised DNA strands (oligonucleotides) labelled with (fluorescent) tags that will ‘light up’ the rogue DNA.
In collaboration with
Tracy Melvin (Optoelectronics Research Centre)
Tom Brown (School of Chemistry)
Jeremy Baumberg (Cambridge University)
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council