Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology Division
CRO Aviano – National Cancer Institute, Italy
Monday September 11, 2017
11:00 am in CCR 201
Molecular electrochemistry meets clinical practice
Early-stage cancer detection is of paramount importance for clinical application because it provides the essential tool for fast diagnostics and thus allows implementing effective and personalized strategies for therapeutic treatment of the patients. The onset of cancer is characterized by increased expression of panels of biomarker proteins in the biofluids. Therefore, circulating biomarker proteins have a promising pivotal role in the clinical practice. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is the clinical practice of measuring pharmaceutical drug concentrations in patients’ biofluids at designated intervals to allow a close and timely control of their dosage. This practice allows for rapid medical intervention in case of toxicity-related issues and/or adjustment of dosage to better fit the therapeutic demand. Currently, early-stage cancer detection is affected by the lack of sensitivity and rapid screening of analytical instruments, whereas TDM is performed in centralized laboratories employing instruments, such as immunoassay analyzers and mass spectrometers that can be run only by trained personnel. The time required for the preparation, samples analysis, and data processing, together with the related financial cost, severely affects a prompt medical intervention. Therefore, a new generation of analytical tools is indeed necessary.
Technological advances in the field of molecular electrochemistry, nanosciences and biosensors offer the unique opportunity to address such issues. Electrochemical biosensors can be made portable and user-friendly and have a clear potential for rapid translation into clinical practice as point-of-care testing (PoCT).
In this talk, I will present the advancement of molecular electrochemistry and nanosciences in devising new tools, which will help improving sensitivity and selectivity when developing biosensor technologies. In particular, I will show our recent work aimed at developing new tools and strategies to detect cancer biomarkers and anticancer drugs. I will explain the physico-chemical principles of electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL) and its fine-tuning in bifunctional organic dyes, which we believe will represent in the very next future a valid alternative to commercially available, and widely used, ruthenium complexes for multiplexed detection of cancer biomarkers. Furthermore, I will also present the working principle and development of an enzyme-based electrochemical biosensor capable of detecting irinotecan, an anticancer drug employed in colorectal cancer treatment, in complex matrices. Such tools and biosensors hold tremendous potential to take medical diagnostics to its next level, providing a new generation of user-friendly portable devices.