Improvement of current flow cytometry and sandwich ELISA assays to detect cancer specific MUC1 in breast cancer (Poster, Biomedica 2013)

The aim of the Microbiomed project is to develop a lab-on-a-chip system for the detection of breast cancer at an early stage. For this purpose cancer cell markers are being selected and a combination of these will be applied in different technical set-ups.

Mucin-1 (MUC1) is a well-known and extensively described cancer cell marker. This highly validated tumor specific antigen has therefore been chosen to evaluate the potential of the different new designs. Additionally, currently available techniques are being explored as a baseline. MUC1 is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is expressed on epithelial cells. When expressed in healthy tissue it is heavily O-glycosylated, resulting in large chains of sugar molecules attached to the peptide backbone. On cancer cells MUC1 is expressed with a much more aberrant glycosylation pattern, with fewer sugar molecules attached to the peptide backbone. This characteristic is what makes MUC1 unique and ideal to be used as a tumor specific antigen. Antibodies have been developed in the past that recognize the aberrantly glycosylated version of MUC1 and that will not bind when any further glycosylation is present.

Edited by : AZM-MUMC+, Evelien Bouwmans