We have a wide range of yogurts available in the supermarket: flavored, light, biologic, probiotic, drinkable, the choice is vast. But the yogurt developed by MIT researcher Sangeeta Bhatia has something more. For years she has been studying and researching to simplify the diagnosis of cancer. The result is an extraordinary yogurt that could soon implement accurate, young disease diagnosis.

Along with her group of researchers, Bhatia has designed synthetic nanoparticles coated with peptides that figure in substrate for cancer distinct enzymes. Consequently the outputs are expelled in urine and therefore can be easily detected.

The researches have maturated nanoparticles able to find their way to tumors. These are later disassembled into small parts by enzymes originated by cancer. These smaller particles are then small enough to be stored and assimilated by the kidney, after which they are expelled in urine. This cheap method, as Bhatia says, will “transform diagnostics”.

This product is a real turning point, it could mean easy accessibility to the diagnosis of deadly diseases. Since the test requires no technical machinery, it could be particularly useful for Third World countries, where Bhatia says “few people are currently screened for common cancers and it could also replace or augment colonoscopies” and where hospital conditions are sometimes unfavorable. But the test could be very useful all over the globe, since only 40% of the patients are diagnosed early for cancer partially because so few people get screened on time. If recognized at an early state, 90% of patients with colorectal cancer can survive for at least five years. This is why this discovery is very useful and crucial for providing accessible, cheap and almost effortless cancer tests.

Source: Technology Review. Image: Shutterstock

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