Can nanotechnology be used for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease?

It was recently showed that most of our cells are the source of small nanoscopic particles called exosomes. They play an important role in transmitting signals between our cells and can be found in bodily fluids such as blood and urine Exosomes draw the attention of scientists for their potential use as biomarkers for the diagnosis of various diseases. Because of the ability of exosomes to pass the barrier between brain and blood, they also have great potential in the diagnostic process of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

The project called EXIT (EXosomes Isolation Tool)

The recently launched project called EXIT (EXosomes Isolation Tool), SINTEF, which is of a multidisciplinary team, will develop a miniaturized analytical tool which is designed to evaluate exosomes in samples from patients with Alzheimer's disease. Key to the project is the development of electroseparation methods which use nanofluid channels able to detect particles in the range between 50 and 100 nm. These channel dimensions allow effective pre-concentration of small particles such as exosomes. Because exosomes are specific for certain pathological conditions, they represent potential biomarkers for diagnosis of various diseases. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, they allow early detection of the condition even before the onset of symptoms. Exosomes separated and concentrated from paired samples of blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid can be used for the diagnostic process. Furthermore, researchers hope that the study of exosomes separated from the patient's samples will improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

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