MicroRNAs are short RNA bits that are known to act like oncogenes or tumor suppressors while inside cells. But, when released out of the cell and into the rest of the body, their activity is poorly understood in large part due to a lack of technology to detect them. Now researchers at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the IU School of Medicine, and the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center developed a cheap, reusable sensor that does label-free detection of mRNA concentrations within biological fluids.
The sensor uses localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) technology utilizing gold nanoprisms that goes down to single nucleotide specificity in detecting specific mRNA molecules.
The researchers used the device to detect the levels of microRNA-10b in pancreatic cancer patients, a biomarker for the disease. They were also able to do the same within exosomes, the somewhat mysterious vesicles that are released by cells and found seemingly in most parts of the body where bilogical fluid is present. The device will allow further studies into the role of mRNAs within the body.
Study in ACS Nano: Label-Free Nanoplasmonic-Based Short Noncoding RNA Sensing at Attomolar Concentrations Allows for Quantitative and Highly Specific Assay of MicroRNA-10b in Biological Fluids and Circulating Exosomes – ACS Nano (ACS Publications)…