"Cancer diagnostics will be more accurate and less expensive": Belarusian mass media interview Professor Igor Nabiev, leading scientist of LNBE

In connection with the forthcoming Nanomeeting-2015 international conference, to be held late this May in Minsk, Belarus, the Belarusian section of the Sputnik international informational portal interviewed Prof. Igor Nabiev, leading scientist of LNBE, who is presenting two papers at the conference. One of them deals with LNBE research and developments in early cancer diagnostics.

The use of fluorescent tags linked to antibodies against tumor cell markers has become a traditional approach to cancer diagnosis. LNBE developments are in line with this approach; however, the new generation of suspension microarrays developed here has essential differences from state-of-the-art diagnostic systems. The main difference is the use of semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) as fluorescent tags.

Quantum dots fluoresce more brightly than the currently used organic dyes, which enhances the sensitivity of the diagnostic system. This makes it possible to detect much smaller amounts of cancer markers and, hence, diagnose the disease at an earlier stage. Understandably, early diagnosis of cancer is literally a matter of life and death: the earlier the tumor is detected and treatment begins, the higher the patient's chance for survival.

In contrast to organic fluorophores, quantum dots are not prone to photobleaching, so, they are much more durable.

In addition, it is easy to fabricate a set of microarrays containing quantum dots fluorescing in different colors (in narrow spectral bands from the red region to the violet one) upon excitation at the same wavelength (i.e., from the same radiation source). This allows several biomarkers to be detected simultaneously in the same blood or tissue sample. LNBE's pilot samples of suspension microarrays effectively detect breast cancer and prostate cancer markers. An analytical system for multiplexed diagnosis of a wider range of tumors of the female reproductive system (breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers) is being developed.

Obviously, other disorders with known biomarkers, such as autoimmune diseases, can be diagnosed in the same way.

In summary, the new diagnostic system is more sensitive and precise than the available commercial analogues, and it is not an overstatement to say that its implementation in clinical practice will save many lives. Furthermore, it is less expensive, which must facilitate the implementation. Preparations for its preclinical trials are underway.


Prof. Igor Nabiev, PhD, DSc, leading scientist (igor.nabiev@gmail.com)

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


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