New publication in Nature Nanotechnology

Recent work by the group has just been published in Nature Nanotechnology. The article presents a nanosensor that combines mechanical and optoplasmonic transduction to detect cancer biomarkers in serum at ultralow concentrations. A biomarker is first recognized by a surface-anchored antibody and then by an antibody in solution that identifies a free region of the captured biomarker. This second antibody is tethered to a gold nanoparticle that acts as a mass and plasmonic label; the two signatures are detected by means of a silicon cantilever that serves as a mechanical resonator for ‘weighing’ the mass of the captured nanoparticles and as an optical cavity that boosts the plasmonic signal from the nanoparticles. The capabilities of the approach are illustrated with two cancer biomarkers: the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and the prostate specific antigen (PSA), which are currently in clinical use for the diagnosis, monitoring and prognosis of colon and prostate cancer, respectively. A detection limit of 0.1 fg/ml in serum is achieved with both biomarkers, which is at least seven orders of magnitude lower than that achieved in routine clinical practice. Moreover, the rate of false positives and false negatives at this concentration is extremely low, of 2 in 10 000.


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