Fructose uptake-based rapid detection of breast cancer

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Department of Chemistry, Department of Biomedical Engineering


Rapid detection of carcinogenesis is the holy grail in timely cancer detection and point-of-care applications. Realization of these applications has been hampered by lack of specificity and/or selectivity of biomarkers and the low concentrations at which the biomarkers are available. A majority of the detection technologies rely on cell-receptor interactions, activation of specific receptors, gene identification and fluorescent tagging. All these techniques are time consuming and often require specialized equipment. Here we present a method to use the enhanced metabolism in breast cancer that relies on fructose for nutrition. Using fluorescent-labeled fructose analogs as reporter probes, we have demonstrated that cancer cells can be optically identified in a very short time due to the efficient internalization of the probe by cancer cells through the fructose-specific transporter. In our trials using breast cancer and normal cells, we were able to show an eight-times higher fluorescence in cancer cells compared to basal uptake in normal within 10 minutes. The cancer cells were distinguishable from normal cells by monitoring the accumulation of the coumarin-induced fluorescence using a conventional microscope and simple image processing.

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2017 IEEE Life Sciences Conference (LSC)