Summary: Thrombin is a serine protease that plays a critical role in the formation of obstructive blood clots, or thrombosis, that is a life-threatening condition associated with numerous diseases such as atherosclerosis and stroke. To detect thrombosis in living animals, we design nanoparticles to sense the activity of thrombin by producing a signal in urine for detection using standard clinical methods. We show that signals in urine differentiate between healthy and thrombotic states and correlate closely with the aggregate burden of blood clots formed in the lungs. Our results demonstrate that synthetic biomarkers can be engineered to sense vascular diseases from urine and may allow applications in point-of-care diagnostics.
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Congratulations to my former trainee and newly minted Harvard MD Gaya Murugappan for receiving cum laude honors for her MD thesis! Best of luck at Stanford!
Dr. Kwong’s paper describing how nanoparticles can be used as ‘synthetic biomarkers’ to noninvasively monitor liver fibrosis and detect early stage cancer has been published in Nature Biotechnology. Cheers to all my colleagues and collaborators – we formed a great team!
MIT news: New technology may enable early cancer diagnosis
Phys.org: Nanoparticles amplify tumor signals, making them easier to detect in the urine
Cancer Discovery: Synthetic biomarkers identify early cancer
FierceHealthIT: Nanotechnology enables creation of biomarkers for early cancer detection
AZoNano: Novel nanoparticles for easier biomarker detection