Filomena Adega and Raquel Chaves – respectively, established scientist and principal investigator at the Gene Expression and Regulation Group, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro – are part of the list of authors of a new paper, coordinated by Paula Martins-Lopes – principal investigator of the Plant Functional Genomics Group from Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro – and published in the journal Talanta. In the BioISI Digest below get to know more about the new biosensor developed to detect non small cell lung cancer cells in liquid biopsies (e.g. serum), in a less invasive manner. 

What was the starting point that led to the current research?

This research is based on a project developed in collaboration with STAB Vida on Non Small Cell Lung Cancer, aiming to develop alternative diagnostic methods applied to liquid biopsies (e.g. serum), in a less invasive manner.

What is the main finding reported in this paper?

The QCM (quartz crystal microbalance)-DNA Biosensor allowed to detect a deletion present in the EGFR gene in liquid biopsies in a short time frame, potentializing personalized medicine application during the patient’s treatment in a cost-effective manner.

If you had to explain the main finding to a 5-year-old child, how would you do it?

We developed a system that can easily and quickly identify marks associated to diseases present in a blood sample of an ill person, so this person can be treated and cured with the right medicine.

Why is it important for the scientific community and for society at large?

The possibility of developing biosensors in the health sector is of main relevance, especially in personalized treatments where it is imperative that the methodologies are precise, quick and costly effective. This biosensor platform gathers all these advantages and is applicable to cfDNA (cell free DNA) present in patients’ serum samples.

What are the next steps?

Test this biosensor in the clinical context in order to validate its potential.

Protocol developed for alternative detection of non liquid cell lung cancer biomarkers from liquid biopsies using a quartz crystal microbalance [scheme provided by the the authors]: the sample represented in blue represent the sensor probe, while the one represented in red refers to the cell free DNA sample.

Discover about Raquel Chaves’ research  here and find out Paula Martins-Lopes’ investigation here

Read the full paper here.