LNBE presented four reports at the conference summarizing the first stage of the Federal Target Program "Research and Development in Priority Fields of the Science and Technology Complex of Russia for 2014–2020"

LNBE has successfully presented four research projects at the conference that summarized applied research and developments carried out in 2015 in the context of the Federal Target Program "Research and Development in Priority Fields of the Science and Technology Complex of Russia for 2014–2020." The interim results of the projects and expected achievements are published at the Xpir Internet portal.

All the four projects are novel developments that leave far behind, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, the currently available analogues in burgeoning areas of science and technology such as medical diagnosis based on biomarker detection and nanotechnological measuring instruments.

Three projects deal with early diagnosis of socially significant diseases, mainly cancer. Bioengineering developments in this field have constituted the principal line of LNBE's research since the foundation of the laboratory.

High, and permanently increasing, morbidity and mortality due to malignant tumors—more than 260 thousand deaths per year (with an annual mortality rate of 26%) in Russia alone and 1.7 million deaths in Western Europe—have made this pathology one of priority healthcare issues. At the same time, many lives could be saved with earlier diagnosis of a growing tumor. In this context, detection of cancer markers (antigens) in blood serum is much more promising than instrumental (computed tomography, MRT, etc.) and cytological methods. It is this challenge that three out of the four LNBE projects address.

The sensor to be designed in the course of the project on Designing of a Prototype Regenerable Nanowire Biosensor for Detecting Serum Markers of Socially Important Diseases, will be far more sensitive than currently available diagnostic systems and will require both less biological material and less time to perform analysis, in particular, because it will be able to detect several markers at a time. This will be a non-disposable biosensor compatible with standard laboratory readers. It will be suitable for controlling the blood content of cancer markers in order to estimate the treatment efficacy and timely detect relapses and metastases.

The planned output of the project on Development of an Analytical System Based on Liquid-State Microarrays for High-Throughput Detection of Cancer Biomarkers is a system of microbeads that carry capture molecules on their surface and are spectrally encoded with fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) or quantum dots (QDs), fluorophores characterized by unique photostability and brightness of emission. This will ensure a ten or more times higher sensitivity of diagnosis compared to the existing analogues. A major disadvantage of systems with multiple spectral codes is sophisticated equipment, including several exciting lasers (for fluorophores of different colors) and a complex system of code identification. Systems based on fluorescent NCs employ a single source of excitation, which makes the system simpler and less expensive. The multilayered structure of the microbeads makes it possible to overcome another common problem of multiplexed microarrays, distortions of the spectral code caused by resonance energy transfer and emission reabsorption between NCs of different colors.

Earlier developments of LNBE employed QDs fluorescing in the visible and ultraviolet spectral regions. This may cause problems in the case of fluorescent staining of live tissue samples, as well as in in vivo experiments on animals, because fluorescence in these regions is characteristic of live cells. Therefore, the use of QDs fluorescing in the "transparency window" of live tissues (700–1700 nm), which has become possible recently, has given rise to the project entitled Development of New Molecular Imaging Probes Using Single-Domain Antibody–Infrared Quantum Dot Conjugates. The next-generation biocompatible nanodiagnostic probes to be designed, in which these QDs are conjugated with single-domain antibodies against the cancer marker HER2, are intended for effective differential laboratory diagnosis and imaging of benign and malignant tumors and metastases.

The results of implementation of these projects can be used in studies on, and clinical diagnosis of, malignant tumors, as well as in biomedical and biological research. Originally developed for detection of cancer biomarkers, the new diagnostic systems can be used for diagnosing other socially significant diseases.

The fourth project, Development of an Experimental Method of High-Resolution Multi-Variable Correlation Analysis of the Optical and Morphological Properties in Bulk Nanomaterials, is a response to the ever-growing demand for precise and efficient measuring equipment for analyzing the properties of nanomaterials, whose area of application is rapidly expanding. This project is aimed at designing a measuring instrument with which one could determine the relationship between the optical properties of a nanomaterial and its morphology on the nanoscale in a single area of the material. For this purpose, the novel method of multi-variable scanning probe nanotomography (SPNT) combining scanning probe microscopy, ultramicrotomy, and optical microspectroscopy is used.

The SPNT technique has a high potential in several branches of science and technology, including photonics, information recording/retrieval, and development of compact laser systems, as well as in biology and biomedicine. In this last field, SPNT has been used, e.g., to analyze the fine structure of nervous tissue, including its cellular components and subcellular structures (organelles and nerve junctions). The method provides correlative information on the behavior of marker fluorescent proteins and on pathological changes in tissue morphology.

The implementation of the projects currently underway in LNBE will undoubtedly make a substantial contribution to a number of priority fields of nanotechnology, bioengineering, and medicine.

The Xpir website: https://xpir.ru/ntisearch?format=html&objectType=project&page=1.


Alexandra Pavlova, manager of LNBE projects under Federal Target Programs (pav1ova@hotmail.com).

Laboratory of Nano-Bioengineering, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute
31 Kashirskoe shosse, 115409 Moscow, Russian Federation


© 2012 Laboratory of Nano-BioEngineering