Multicolor quantum dots for molecular diagnostics of cancer

Andrew M Smith, Shivang Dave, Shuming Nie, Lawrence True, Xiaohu Gao
2006 Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics  
In the pursuit of sensitive and quantitative methods to detect and diagnose cancer, nanotechnology has been identified as a field of great promise. Semiconductor quantum dots are nanoparticles with intense, stable fluorescence, and could enable the detection of tens to hundreds of cancer biomarkers in blood assays, on cancer tissue biopsies, or as contrast agents for medical imaging. With the emergence of gene and protein profiling and microarray technology, high-throughput screening of
more » ... creening of biomarkers has generated databases of genomic and expression data for certain cancer types, and has identified new cancer-specific markers. Quantum dots have the potential to expand this in vitro analysis, and extend it to cellular, tissue and whole-body multiplexed cancer biomarker imaging. structures with useful properties, while maintaining their dimensions on the nanometer-length scale. The nanometer scale is also the scale of biological function (i.e. the same size range as enzymes, DNA, and other biological macromolecules and cellular components). Many nanotechnologies are predicted to soon become translational tools for medicine, and move quickly from discovery-based devices to clinically useful therapies and medical tests. Among these, quantum dots (QDs) are unique in their far-reaching possibilities in many avenues of medicine. A QD is a fluorescent nanoparticle that has the potential to be used as a sensitive probe for screening cancer markers in fluids, as a specific label for classifying tissue biopsies, and as a high-resolution contrast agent for medical imaging, which is capable of detecting even the smallest tumors. These particles have the unique ability to be sensitively detected on a wide range of length scales, from macroscale visualization, down to atomic resolution using electron microscopy [3] . Most importantly for cancer detection, QDs hold massive multiplexing capabilities for the detection of many cancer markers simultaneously, which holds tremendous promise for unraveling the complex gene expression profiles of cancers and for accurate clinical diagnosis. This review will summarize how QDs have recently been used in encouraging experiments for future clinical diagnostic tools for the early detection and classification of cancer.
doi:10.1586/14737159.6.2.231 pmid:16512782 fatcat:z5jnbcmxizgrzdgxyupsoprzv4