Analysis of the human proteome using multi-nanoparticle biomolecular corona for early detection of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer (CC) is widespread and is responsible for many cancer-related deaths. Despite different efforts and great advances in the therapeutic field, 5-year survival for this type of cancer still reaches 65.9% and is conditioned by the stage of disease. Therefore, early diagnosis would represent a significant step forward to improve survival rates and chances of cure. It is now well accepted that nanoparticles (particles with size between 1 and 100 nm) in contact with biological fluids are quickly surrounded by a selected group of adsorbed proteins that form a protein corona whose composition is strongly dependent on the physicochemical properties of the nanoparticles themselves. The protein pattern in cancer patients' blood differs from that of healthy subjects. Thus, the molecular composition of the protein corona formed around nanoparticles does change in cancer and non-cancer patients blood. Characterization of protein corona could therefore allow detection of minor changes in protein concentration at the very early stages of disease development, i.e. when alterations in the circulating levels of proteins are undetectable by blood tests. The main aim of this project is the ultimate development of a disruptive nanoparticle-enabled blood test for early CC detection based on the differences between the protein coronas formed on different types of nanoparticles after exposure to the blood of CC cancer patients and non-cancer subjects. To achieve this, a review of available analytical techniques for nanoparticle characterization and detection of proteins, as well as microfluidics and sensor array technology will be performed. The test will be safe, inexpensive, fast and easy to perform. Due to this unique characteristics, we envision the test will find widespread application in the clinics. Finally, an integrated platform to perform the nanoparticle-enabled blood test will be developed and patented.