An immunosensor developed with fluorescent nanomaterial can help detect the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a signalling protein that promotes the growth of new blood vessels and is considered cancerous if found in elevated levels in the blood.

VEGF is a factor that promotes angiogenesis or formation of new blood vessels, which involves migration, growth, and differentiation of the endothelial cells that line the inside wall of blood vessels. It is unregulated in many tumours and hence serves as an indication of the likelihood of cancer. The dynamic interplay of nanotechnology and immunoassay has unlocked an arena for developing next-generation techniques for detecting such biomarkers, which can simplify the detection of cancer, especially breast cancer. Such techniques will ensure rapid point-of-care testing for early detection of cancer.

Prof Devasish Chowdhury and his PhD student Ankita Deb at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) in Boragaon, Guwahati (Assam) fabricated an immunosensor based on the fluorescence phenomenon of biogenic carbon quantum dots, a new class of carbon nanomaterials, for the detection of the biomarker VEGF, which can lead to early detection of the disease.

The potential of this immunosensor was qualitatively assessed using human blood plasma samples, showing promising applicability of the fabricated system in immunoassay techniques, says a press release.