MIT researchers have developed a diagnostic tool that uses nanoparticles to detect cancer in urine samples. The nanoparticles have a coating of proteins that are tagged with a range of DNA sequences, and when they encounter cancer-related enzymes in the blood, the enzymes snip off a specific protein, which is then excreted from the body in the urine. The DNA sequences attached to the protein can be read like a barcode, identifying the presence of cancer. The test has the potential to identify whether a tumor is present, distinguish between different cancer types, and determine if a tumor has metastasized. The researchers believe that the technique could be used to create inexpensive technologies that can be used for at-home testing.
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