3D DNA barcode breakthrough in cancer diagnostics


3D DNA barcode breakthrough in cancer diagnostics

  • September 11, 2019

A research team led by iHealthtech principal investigator Asst Prof Shao Huilin has developed a breakthrough 3D DNA barcode technology that can significantly improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnostics as well as reduce the need for more invasive testing. 

The new technology, called Sequence-Topology Assembly for Multiplexed Profiling (STAMP) uses pyramid-shaped DNA nanostructures that are more compact and stable than conventional linear DNA barcodes. Once inside a cell, the STAMP barcode can unfold on demand and bind to specific protein markers, which include cancer disease markers. 

“By using different DNA barcodes, we can use the same chip for detecting different cancer types. This technology is able to measure the amount of protein markers, as well as the distribution of the markers in a cell,” Asst Prof Shao said. 

The process only requires two hours in total from sample to result. The team has conducted a preliminary clinical trial with 69 breast cancer patients and achieved 94 per cent accuracy in classifying the aggressiveness of the cancer, based on a small amount of tissue sample obtained from fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy. 

The speed, accuracy and sensitivity of STAMP technology strongly enhances the effectiveness of less invasive diagnostics, allowing an earlier determination of the appropriate therapy thus leading to better treatment outcomes while reducing patient pain and anxiety. 

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