A new invention could change everything you knew about medicine: scientists are betting on a revolutionary set of newly invented contact lenses.
Exosomes play a critical role in cancer metastasis, the spread of tumors from one location to another in the body. Current methods typically extract exosomes from body fluids using centrifuges and density gradients, which can take tens of hours.
Specialized equipment to detect isolated exosomes makes the process lengthy and expensive.
In tears, for example, exosomes are much easier to detect. Researchers used a set of contact lenses equipped with nanoparticles that can label specific antibodies so they react to molecules on the surface of exosomes.
As noted in a new advanced study, the team of scientists avoided real human testing and opted for in vitro tests. The gold nanoparticles reacted in the presence of exosomes in a liquid with the same pH as human tears, as well as in real human tears.
The researchers showed that the technology can detect the difference between the exosomes’ surface proteins, which are considered cancer biomarkers.
How scientists hope to detect cancer with these contact lenses
These contact lenses were developed by the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation. Several microchambers containing the gold nanoparticles were etched with a laser and then modified with chemicals. This gave the lens good transparency and suitable mechanical properties for human use.
“Exosomes are a rich source of markers and biomolecules that can be targeted for various biomedical applications,” Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, director and CEO of TIBI, said in a statement. “The method our team has developed makes it much easier for us to access this source,” he added.
The team believes this method could be a simple, rapid and certainly non-invasive approach to cancer screening and diagnosis support. It is important to note that the new invention is currently in the testing phase.