A Fluorescent Carbon Nanotube Sensor Detects the Metastatic Prostate Cancer Biomarker uPA

Therapeutic outcomes in patients with prostate cancer are hindered by the inability to discern indolent versus aggressive disease. To address this problem, we developed a quantitative fluorescent nanosensor for the cancer biomarker urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA). We used the unique fluorescent characteristics of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) to engineer an optical sensor that responds to uPA via optical bandgap modulation in complex protein environments. The sensing characteristics of this construct were modulated by passivation of the hydrophobic SWCNT surface with bovine serum albumin (BSA). The sensor enabled quantitative detection of known uPA concentrations in human blood products. These experiments potentiate future use of this technology as a rapid, point-of-care sensor for biomarker measurements in patient fluid samples. We expect that further work will develop a method to discern aggressive vs indolent prostate cancer and reduce overtreatment of this disease.

ACS sensors. 2018 Aug 31 [Epub ahead of print]

Ryan M Williams, Christopher Lee, Daniel A Heller

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center , New York , New York 10065 , United States.