|Bacteria producing nanoparticles, taking form of a yoghurt, |
can help diagnose diseases as cancer.
Initial studies suggest that a spoonful of yogurt followed by a urine test could soon enable accurate, early disease diagnosis. This would make for a more palatable alternative to going to a hospital for a colonoscopy or MRI scan.
Scientists have designed synthetic nanoparticles coated with peptides. These incredibly small particles serve as substrates for cancer-specific enzymes. In the presence of the enzymes, called matrix metalloproteinases, the reaction products are excreted in urine and can be detected using a paper-based antibody test.
In early studies, the new technique successfully identified colorectal cancer and blood clots in mice. Until recently, the technology required injecting mice with the nanoparticles. However, researchers have successfully engineered bacteria in yogurt to produce the nanoparticles, which will make testing even simpler.