A study involving researchers from Qatar University (QU) has led to the development of a platform to identify a biomarker that can help in the early detection of prostate cancer, according to a principal investigator of the project.
“We have developed a biochip platform to identify the biomarkers for prostate cancer. This will lead to early detection of the type of cancer and prevention of the disease,” Dr Peter Kasak, a researcher at the Centre for Advanced Materials (CAM) at QU, told Gulf Times.
Dr Kasak and his colleagues, Dr Jaroslav Filip and Josef from CAM, in collaboration, with Dr Jan Tkac and Dr Katrlik from Slovak Academy of Sciences, had been engaged in developing lectin biochips for cancer diagnosis under the National Priorities Research Programme of Qatar National Research Fund for the last three years.
Dr Kasak noted that the research findings could be implemented at the clinical stage only after more studies and testing. “This is at the preliminary stage. For clinical implementation of the research, we need the support of pharmaceutical companies.”
Elaborating on the research project, Dr Kasak said: “It is a glyco-profiling study using the biochip based on lectin, which recognises specific sugars in the blood. These lectin molecules can recognise the amount of sugar units and the differences in sugar units can be responsible for the changes during disease in the body. This is the basic principle of the study.
Lectins in biochips selectively recognise glycan moieties in glycoproteins or on the surface of cells, providing information about the glycoprofile. Special electrochemical detection platform of the biochips allow to detect extremely low levels of glycoproteins.
The biochip platform has an ability to detect low-abundant glycoproteins in such samples without a need for time and reagent consuming pre-concentration, he said.
“The sensoring materials for this study can also be used for other types of cancer. This will help in detecting biomarkers for various types of cancers so that we can prevent several types of cancer in due course, as early detection – together with accompanying interventions – can significantly reduce incidents of cancer,” he stressed.
The main ambition of the collaboration is to construct robust lectin biochips through their integration with nanomaterials or with nanoscale patterning protocols to increase sensitivity and prevent non-specific protein adsorption, he added.
This can be applied in a fast, sensitive and simple diagnosis of various kinds of cancer or for discovery of novel cancer biomarkers.
According to the official, the study has been going on for the past three years and they would apply for a renewal for another three years to complete the entire project.

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