Unveiling massive numbers of cancer-related urinary-microRNA candidates via nanowires

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Science Advances  15 Dec 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 12, e1701133
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701133


Analyzing microRNAs (miRNAs) within urine extracellular vesicles (EVs) is important for realizing miRNA-based, simple, and noninvasive early disease diagnoses and timely medical checkups. However, the inherent difficulty in collecting dilute concentrations of EVs (<0.01 volume %) from urine has hindered the development of these diagnoses and medical checkups. We propose a device composed of nanowires anchored into a microfluidic substrate. This device enables EV collections at high efficiency and in situ extractions of various miRNAs of different sequences (around 1000 types) that significantly exceed the number of species being extracted by the conventional ultracentrifugation method. The mechanical stability of nanowires anchored into substrates during buffer flow and the electrostatic collection of EVs onto the nanowires are the two key mechanisms that ensure the success of the proposed device. In addition, we use our methodology to identify urinary miRNAs that could potentially serve as biomarkers for cancer not only for urologic malignancies (bladder and prostate) but also for nonurologic ones (lung, pancreas, and liver). The present device concept will provide a foundation for work toward the long-term goal of urine-based early diagnoses and medical checkups for cancer.

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