Cancer Catchers

Aww c’mon, shed a tear!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying …

It’s good for you, and our cells agree! To communicate, cells release tiny packages carrying genetic information and proteins that travel through us. They don’t know where these info-pacs go. But some even make it into our tears! 

Now… these info-pacs also carry cancer information as the disease spreads. So, scientists are investigating them as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis. But how can we catch these info-pacs? 

Enter Shaopei Li from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation and colleagues. They propose a CONTACT solution! 

The team created specialized contact lenses with laser-cut chambers. They’re hair thin and collect TEARS when worn! Antibodies line the chambers to detect specific proteins from the info-pacs.

To test their design, researchers collected tears from volunteers. AND? They FOUND info-pacs from different cell-types in the TEARS! 

With cancer-specific antibodies, these contacts could be a cheap, non-invasive way to help catch cancer! 

Ah, I see! Talk about the CATCHER IN THE EYE!

Reference: Li, S. et al. (2022). A microchambers containing contact lens for the noninvasive detection of tear exosomes. Advanced Functional Materials, 2206620.