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Electronic tongues for detecting prostate and bladder cancer

Researchers of the Applied Molecular Chemistry Group, coordinator of Unit 26 of NANBIOSIS, have participated in the development of a new low-cost system for non-invasive diagnosis of prostate and bladder cancer. It consists of a device of electronic tongues ​​based on metal electrodes, which makes it possible to quickly and easily detect this pathology from a urine sample.

The researchers evaluated the efficacy of this system from the analysis of urine samples from patients before and after surgery. In addition, samples were collected from patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia, integrated into the non-cancer group for the study of prostate cancer. This system was able to distinguish non-cancerous urine samples from the affected ones with a sensitivity of 91% and a specificity of 73%.

The specificity and sensitivity obtained by the electronic tongues in urine is higher compared to the prostate-specific PSA-blood test, which is the most commonly used procedure for the detection of prostate cancer. “The results obtained confirm the suitability of this technology of electronic tongues ​​for the identification of patients affected by this pathology. This technology has great potential for its application in clinical practice, both for the diagnosis and for monitoring the evolution of patients after therapy”, said Ramón Martínez Máñez, Scientific Director of NANBIOSIS.

The measurement of electronic tongues on the urine is done by putting the sensor, in this case composed of a set of noble and semi-precious metals, with the urine sample of the patient. It is connected to a potentiostat that applies different potentials to the electrodes and, in turn, collects the resulting currents to be analysed in a computer equipped with a computer program for multivariate analysis.

“The tongue is” trained” in a first phase with a set of patient samples and controls to generate a model that discriminates between both types of samples. That model, once validated, could be used to predict new urine samples and to be able to determine whether or not these new patients have the disease with a certain margin of sensitivity and specificity”, explains Ramón Martínez Máñez.

Potential metabolites recognized by the electronic tongue were studies by NMR using the NANBIOSIS-ICTS

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Recently, the COST Action EURELAX CA15209 "European Network on NMR Relaxometry" has been approved. In this action, Jose Javier Serrano, Scientific Coordinator of Unit 15 of NANBIOSIS, has been directly involved as Secondary Proposer.

The “European Network on NMR Relaxometry” Action aims to develop a research network focused on NMR relaxometry for fundamental and applied sciences concerned with the molecular dynamics of soft and hard matter. NMR relaxometry possesses the unique ability to reveal the mechanisms of molecular motion and their characteristic times over a huge range of time scales from picosecond to millisecond, with selectivity in probing the dynamics of molecular and ionic species. This potential of NMR relaxometry will be developed with applications in advanced materials science and industry, medical diagnostics and therapeutics, agri-food and environmental science and technologies. This research is intrinsically related to progress in the understanding of spin relaxation phenomena and in technological development, as both components form the basis for the fundamental and technology-oriented research employing NMR relaxometry.

NMR relaxometry is a scientific and technological asset of Europe. The joint efforts of scientists across numerous disciplines (chemistry, physics, materials science and others), of medical doctors and engineers, regrouped through the networking means provided by this Action, will allow the efficient exploitation of NMR relaxometry in fields that are currently key challenges for Europe, such as early disease detection, energy sources and storage, advanced tuneable materials, food quality, soil fertility, water and sediment performance.

The Action will play a seminal role in facilitating links between the scientific and industrial communities for knowledge exchange and technology transfer to stimulate cross-disciplinary innovations, educating the next generation of talented researchers and developing the full potential of NMR relaxometry in Europe.


Nanbiosis U15_Secondary Proposer in COST Action European Network on NMR Relaxometry_Coord.Jose Javier Serrano
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