Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Oxford University (Oxford, England) recently used a fluorescence nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) system from NanoSight (Amesbury, England) to quickly size and phenotype cellular vesicles for use as biomarkers for early disease detection. Their findings overcome previous limitations in the technology available for their measurement.
The NTA system visualizes vesicles by light scattering using a light microscope, records a video, and then tracks the Brownian motion of the individual vesicles via the NTA software, calculating their size and total concentration.
Using human placental vesicles and plasma, the team has demonstrated that NTA can measure cellular vesicles as small as ~50 nm, making it far more sensitive than conventional flow cytometry (lower limit ~300 nm). By combining NTA with fluorescence measurement, vesicles can be labeled with specific antibody-conjugated quantum dots, allowing their phenotype to be determined.
The researchers' work has been published in NanoMedicine, and comprehensive funding for the work was provided by a Wellcome Trust Technology Development, a Wellcome Trust Program Grant and by the Oxford Partnership Comprehensive Biomedical Research Center, with support from the Department of Health's NIHR Biomedical Research Center's funding scheme.
Posted by Lee Mather
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