Research Highlight

Nanosensor to diagnose drug resistant cancer cells

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.44 Published online 8 April 2015

Researchers claim to have developed the prototype of a nanosensor-based medical device that can diagnose drug resistance in cancer cells without reporter antibody1. They say the senstivity of the nanosensor is better than conventional ELISA-based cytosensor assays. The sensor is also able to detect drug resistant cancer cells in the presence of drug sensitive cells.

Multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the main issues in the failure of cancer chemotherapy. Detecting such resistance effectively could help develop better therapies for cancer patients.

The researchers designed a device that can sense the 'permeability glycoprotein' (P-gp) in the cell matrix. P-gp suggests drug resistance in cancer cells. The composite immunosensor probe was made by immobilizing monoclonal P-gp antibody on gold nanoparticles.

The researchers successfully detected multi drug resistance cancer cells in serum and mixed cell samples with the help of the sensor. They also examined the interference by drug sensitive cells (SKBr-3 and HeLa), noncancerous cells (HEK-293 and OSE), and other chemical molecules in a sample matrix.

The sensitivity was far better than conventional reporter antibody-based assays, says one the researchers Pranjal Chandra.


1. Chandra, P. et al. Ultrasensitive detection of drug resistant cancer cells in biological matrixes using an amperometric nanobiosensor. Biosens. Bioelectron. (2015)  doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2015.03.069