A novel diagnostic tool to detect early breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. According to estimates, nearly 75.000 new cases occurred 2012 in Germany (Robert-Koch-Institute). For the improvement of the early detection of breast cancer the Interreg IV-A project MICROBIOMED (MICROtechnologies for BIOMEDical applications) was funded. The aim is to develop an antibody-based bioassay, which will later be integrated into a biochip system to achieve a simple and quick method for an early detection. In combination with the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), which is well known to be overexpressed in 16-48% [1] of breast cancer, additional valuable markers will be analyzed.

The chosen biomarkers are expressed in various cancer types including lung, prostate, pancreatic and breast cancer. These markers are produced autocrinely and act as regulators to protect cells from apoptotic death and stimulate angiogenesis. As soon as these functions are dysregulated, antibodies might be used for their specific capturing. Thereby the growth of the cancerous cells could be inhibited. For the integration into the biochip, new antibodies against these antigens were generated by immunization of mice with recombinant protein. After the selection of monoclonal antibody producing hybridoma cells, the antibodies were purified via Protein G. Their binding specificity and functionality were analyzed in Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Western Blot experiments. Furthermore the antibodies will be tested regarding their suitability for the detection of the cancer-specific marker in patient material such as serum and tissue. In cooperation with engineers from different institutes within the Euregio Meuse-Rhine a biochip system will be established, using the here developed antibodies. Possible measurements will essentially be based on label free detection methods. In the here presented study, the production of two breast-cancer specific markers and the properties of the corresponding antibodies will be described.

Edited by : EMI, Magdalena Bialon