"Oncologists still rely heavily on biological characterisation of tumours and a limited number of biomarkers which have demonstrated clinical utility. Routine cancer diagnostic tools may not be always sensitive enough and may only detect proteins at levels corresponding to an advanced stage of the disease. Recently, new genomic and proteomic molecular tools (molecular signatures) are being employed which include genetic and epigenetic signatures, changes in gene expression, protein profiles and post-translational modification of proteins. Such advanced diagnostic tools are not always readily adapted to clinical cancer screening due to their complexity, costs and the requirement for highly-qualified operators. Novel bioanalytical methodologies for detection of specific biomarkers/ biomolecules, based on nanostructured electronic sensors (rapid, sensitive devices capable of miniaturisation and deployment on site or in small clinics), fulfill the necessary requirements and have the potential to compliment time- and labour consuming clinical analysers used in medical laboratories currently. The primary objective of this proposal, therefore, is to gather together an international and interdisciplinary consortium of ten research teams from EU Member States, Third (including ENP) countries with EU agreements on S&T, in order to share and jointly exploit knowledge and expertise in the development of micro/nanosensors as tools in early cancer diagnosis. A key scientific target is the realisation of intelligent electronic devices which respond to biomolecules such as formaldehyde, amines, metal ions, saccharides, activities of amine oxidases, arginase and glutathione-S-transferase. This will entail design, development and characterisation of nano-scale transducers suitable for testing in clinical samples."
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