A team of researchers, led by Professor Yoon-Kyoung Cho of the School of Life Sciences at UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea) has recently developed a new technique that effectively identifies cancer-causing substances in the urine or blood. In the study, Professor Cho, a group leader at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Research Center for Soft and Living Matter (CSLM) in the Republic of Korea, presented an integrated centrifugal microfluidic platform (Exodisc), a device that isolates extracellular vesicles (EVs) from urine. The results of the study were published (online on January 9, 2017) in the February 2017 issue of ACS Nano. The article is titled “Exodisc for Rapid, Size-Selective, and Efficient Isolation and Analysis of Nanoscale Extracellular Vesicles from Biological Samples.” The research team expects that this may be potentially useful in clinical settings to test urinary EV-based biomarkers for cancer diagnostics. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-derived nanovesicles (40-1,000 nm in size), present in almost all types of body fluids, which play a vital role in intercellular communication and are involved in the transport of biological signals for regulating diverse cellular functions. Despite the increasing clinical importance of EVs as potential biomarkers in the diagnosis and prognosis of various diseases, current methods of EV isolation and analysis suffer from complicated procedures with long processing times. For instance, even ultracentrifugation (UC), the most commonly used method for EV isolation, requires time-consuming steps involving centrifugation and acquisition of large sample volumes, and the results suffer from low yield and purity.
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