Florida researchers zero in on possible new way to detect cancer with blood tests

Gainesville-based University of Florida researchers developed a new CRISPR-powered method to diagnose cancer at earlier stages using blood tests.

The method, called EXTRA-CRISPR and described in Nature Biomedical Engineering, works by detecting microRNAs — small RNA molecules involved in regulating gene expression — in tiny particles of blood called extracellular vesicles. Tumor cells seem to produce the extracellular vesicles more aggressively, "making them an exciting source to explore new cancer markers," Yong Zeng, PhD, associate professor of chemistry at UF and UF Health Cancer Center member, said in an April 27 news release.

MicroRNAs can be a source for developing biomarkers of cancerous tumors in human fluids, but clinical application has been limited due to the lack of tools sensitive enough to detect microRNAs, according to the release. 

"Our idea was to design a way to simplify the entire workflow into 'one pot,'" Dr. Zeng said in the release. "We designed a fast, sensitive method to detect microRNAs that is simpler and has a low risk of cross-contamination."

The "one pot" method refers to putting all chemical agents needed except for the sample into a single test tube. Only microRNA samples are needed to elicit a reaction.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars