Scientists in New Mexico are experimenting with a nanotechnology device that quantifies the amount of nanoparticle-bound tumor cells in a tissue sample and offers increased sensitivity to minimal residual disease (Cancer Res 69:6839-6847, 2009).
The marrow biopsy needle targets tumor cells with nanoparticles and then preferentially extracts the cells with a magnetic needle. The group used anti-CD34 antibody loaded magnetic nanoparticles to detect CD34-positive cells as an indicator of leukemia. To quantify the cells recovered, they coupled this nanoparticle-mediated fishing for leukemic cells with the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID).
The work is a collaborative effort between Senior Scientific and the University of New Mexico Health Science Center, both in Albuquerque.