Cancer kills 8 million people around the world every year, and 14 million more will develop the disease. In the US, one in five people will die of some type of cancer. Cancer does not discriminte: it strikes young and old, neighbors and friends, fathers and mothers. One-third of these deaths can be averted by routine screening and early detection of the cancer when it is most treatable. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, there is no accurate, minimally-invasive, cost-effective and portable method to early detect the majority of cancers, including the more lethal types such as brain, ovarian or pancreatic cancer.
The MetaChip is an optimized electrochemical biosensor that use blood sample to detect microRNAs linked to eighteen types of cancer.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNA sequences of about 18-22 nucleotides (1). They influence important cancer-related processes such as proliferation, cell cycle control, apoptosis, differentiation, migration and metabolism (2–8). In addition, miRNA expressions correlate with clinical and biological characteristics of tumours, including tissue type, differentiation, aggression and response to therapy (9,10). These characteristics, coupled with the stability of miRNAs in blood, serum, saliva, tears and other types of body fluids, make them an excellent candidate to serve as cancer biomarkers (2–8). Because of the small amount of circulating miRNAs and the large amount of proteins in blood, miRNA extraction and quantification is technically challenging (11). Current microRNA detection methods have either low throughput, low sensitivity, are costly, require a large amount of total RNA or/and often involve laborious sample handling protocols that cannot be performed without highly trained personnel (12–14). Such limitations severely hinder the application of existing miRNA detection methods into clinical practice. With proprietary electrochemical biosensor technology, the Metachip can overcome these limitations.
The Metachip workflow has three simple steps: draw blood, place the blood on the Metachip, and put the Metachip on a portable sensor-reader to get results in 15 minutes.