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Advanced Label-free Nano-sensors as Cancer Diagnosis Solutions

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Council Chamber RMIT Building 1, level 2(R) (001.02.17)

RMIT University - Melbourne Campus

124 La Trobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Advanced Label-free Nanosensors as Cancer Diagnosis Solutions

César S. Huertas obtained his PhD grade in Biotechnology in March of 2016 at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the doctoral thesis entitled Nanophotonic Biosensors for Deciphering Cell Regulation Pathways. His research work focused on: (i) the design of novel analytical methodologies for genomic and epigenomic biomarker detection for deciphering the regulatory routes taken by cancerous cells; (ii) the functioning and operation of different optical nanosensors; (iii) the development and characterization of different surface functionalization methodologies; and (iv) the assessment and optimization of the biofunctionalization and detection conditions to enhance the analytical parameters of the assay in terms of sensitivity, selectivity and accuracy for the demonstration of the utility of these biosensing technologies for real bioanalytical applications (clinical diagnosis).

Currently, César has a postdoctoral position in the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology in Barcelona, Spaine, where he is in charge of the Genomic/Epigenomic research line. Furthermore, His work also comprises other projects related to analyses of protein-protein and protein-antibody interactions for different diagnostic purposes.

ABSTRACT

Tumour cells not only appear due to genetic and epigenetic alterations, but they also routinely employ epigenetic mechanisms in favour to their outliving and proliferation over normal cells, escaping from chemotherapy and host immune surveillance. Having more effective diagnostic solutions to unravel these epigenetic mechanisms in cancer is of paramount importance for better understanding of cancer development and the design of personalized therapies. (Nano)photonic biosensors have profiled themselves as robust and efficient analytical tools offering fast, simple and ultra-sensitive detection of disease-related biomarkers.

Cesar presents here the brand-new biosensor methodologies used for the monitoring of relevant epigenetic mechanisms such as the RNA alternative splicing, the aberrant expression of microRNAs or the methylation status of DNA.

He has employed two optical biosensors, the well-known SPR biosensor and the multiplexing BiMW interferometer, both of them fully developed in our Group. These platforms permit the analysis of such routes by offering simple, label-free and highly sensitive detection in a few minutes and with minimal sample treatment. Our methodologies resolve the main problems encountered in the standard analysis of these epigenetic processes, demonstrating an excellent selectivity and suitable sensitivities for their physiological contexts.

The group achieved the direct detection of specific mRNA splicing isoforms at femtomolar concentrations, avoiding cross-hybridization from the alternative ones. In addition, we selectively detected micro-RNA-181a without pre-amplification steps in urine samples from bladder-cancer patients achieving limits of detection as sensitive as 23 attomolar. Finally, we have developed an innovative methodology for the direct capture of double-stranded DNA fragments. This facilitates the analysis of the methylation status from concrete gene fragments without the need for DNA strand separation. Our biosensors constitute a breakthrough in epigenetics, representing a highly valuable and innovative tool for cancer prognosis, diagnosis and patient follow-ups.



  • César S. Huertas PhD

    César S. Huertas PhD

    Nano-biosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2)



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Council Chamber RMIT Building 1, level 2(R) (001.02.17)

RMIT University - Melbourne Campus

124 La Trobe Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

View Map

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