A pinboard by
Yingxin Deng

Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology


Early detection of epigenetic biomarkers of cancer with electrochemical biosensors

The poor survival rate of lung cancer is largely due to the lack of early screenable biomarkers, which leads to detection of the cancer at an advanced and typically untreatable stage. Traditional detection of cancer related biomarkers include radioactive labeling or laborious instrumentations, either causing unexpected health problems or high expenses of detection. Electrochemistry has overcome these problems as it is portable, easy-to-fabricate, and requires low cost of instrumentation. Electrochemical assays have been used to detect nucleic acids with high sensitivity and without the need for polymerase chain reaction amplification, but protein detection remains a challenge. The DNA-mediated charge transport (DNA CT) electrochemical assay harnesses the physical properties of DNA and adds sensitivity and specificity in protein detection. DNA CT is especially sensitive to anything that perturbs proper base stacking, including DNA mismatches, lesions, or DNA-binding proteins that distort the 𝜋-stack. My research focuses on developing an electrochemical biosensor based on DNA CT that can detect cancer related epigenetic protein biomarkers at the early stage of lung cancer. The low-cost, easy-to-use, highly sensitive and selective biosensor shows great potential as early diagnostic tool for lung cancer.