Yogurt Test May Become Novel Colonoscopy Alternative
the MPR take:
Colonoscopies are often a costly and inconvenient means of cancer detection, but synthetic biomarkers combined with yogurt may one day replace or augment colonoscopies and improve early diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Sangeeta N. Bhatia, MD, PhD, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed nanoparticles that are broken into smaller pieces by enzymes when they come into contact with cancerous tumors. The particles are then collected and concentrated by the kidneys and excreted, which has led Dr. Bhatia to investigate methods for nanoparticle delivery that could then be detected in a urine test. By modifying a type of bacteria found in yogurt, the bacteria produce nanoparticles that interact with the tumor after the yogurt is consumed. Tests in mice using nanoparticle injections have been promising, but additional clinical trials in both animals and humans are needed before yogurt becomes a real alternative in colorectal cancer diagnostics.
Engineered yogurt bacteria could make detecting colorectal cancer and other diseases as simple as a pregnancy test. Screening for certain cancers could soon be as simple as a home pregnancy test. Sangeeta Bhatia, a professor at MIT, is working to replace costly and uncomfortable colonoscopies and MRIs with a dollop of yogurt and a urine test-a cheap method that could improve the early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
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