Early cancer diagnosis
Xin Zou, Yuan Wan and Si-Yang Zheng

Early cancer diagnosis

The April focus issue highlights advances in the isolation of cancer biomarkers in blood and in diagnostic or imaging probes for the early detection of cancer.

Latest Research

  • Article |

    Nanoscale extracellular vesicles can be efficiently isolated in about 15 minutes, for downstream analyses of nucleic acids and proteins, via spontaneous labelling through a lipid nanoprobe and subsequent magnetic capture of the labelled vesicles.

    • Yuan Wan
    • , Gong Cheng
    • , Xin Liu
    • , Si-Jie Hao
    • , Merisa Nisic
    • , Chuan-Dong Zhu
    • , Yi-Qiu Xia
    • , Wen-Qing Li
    • , Zhi-Gang Wang
    • , Wen-Long Zhang
    • , Shawn J. Rice
    • , Aswathy Sebastian
    • , Istvan Albert
    • , Chandra P. Belani
    •  & Si-Yang Zheng
  • Article |

    An optimized nanosensor with tumour-penetrating ligands and with peptide substrates that lead to maximal tumour-specific protease cleavage detects sub-5 mm lesions in human epithelial tumour xenografts and in an orthotopic model of ovarian cancer.

    • Ester J. Kwon
    • , Jaideep S. Dudani
    •  & Sangeeta N. Bhatia
  • Article |

    Functionalized InAs quantum dots emitting in the short-wavelength infrared spectral region enable functional biomedical imaging at unprecedentedly high spatial resolution, deep penetration and fast acquisition speeds.

    • Oliver T. Bruns
    • , Thomas S. Bischof
    • , Daniel K. Harris
    • , Daniel Franke
    • , Yanxiang Shi
    • , Lars Riedemann
    • , Alexander Bartelt
    • , Frank B. Jaworski
    • , Jessica A. Carr
    • , Christopher J. Rowlands
    • , Mark W. B. Wilson
    • , Ou Chen
    • , He Wei
    • , Gyu Weon Hwang
    • , Daniel M. Montana
    • , Igor Coropceanu
    • , Odin B. Achorn
    • , Jonas Kloepper
    • , Joerg Heeren
    • , Peter T. C. So
    • , Dai Fukumura
    • , Klavs F. Jensen
    • , Rakesh K. Jain
    •  & Moungi G. Bawendi
  • Article |

    A carbon nanotube sensor enables real-time optical quantification of hybridization events of microRNA and other oligonucleotides in vivo and in whole urine and serum.

    • Jackson D. Harvey
    • , Prakrit V. Jena
    • , Hanan A. Baker
    • , Gül H. Zerze
    • , Ryan M. Williams
    • , Thomas V. Galassi
    • , Daniel Roxbury
    • , Jeetain Mittal
    •  & Daniel A. Heller
  • Article |

    An optical spectroscopic technique and fibre-optic probe, compatible with clinical ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration, accurately distinguishes cancerous, precancerous and benign pancreatic cysts.

    • Lei Zhang
    • , Douglas K. Pleskow
    • , Vladimir Turzhitsky
    • , Eric U. Yee
    • , Tyler M. Berzin
    • , Mandeep Sawhney
    • , Shweta Shinagare
    • , Edward Vitkin
    • , Yuri Zakharov
    • , Umar Khan
    • , Fen Wang
    • , Jeffrey D. Goldsmith
    • , Saveli Goldberg
    • , Ram Chuttani
    • , Irving Itzkan
    • , Le Qiu
    •  & Lev T. Perelman

News & Comment

  • Comment |

    The clinical utility of diagnostic markers extracted from liquid biopsies from cancer patients is hampered by knowledge gaps in biological understanding but can be aided by technological developments.

    • Catherine Alix-Panabières
    •  & Klaus Pantel
  • News and Views |

    Functionalized quantum dots emitting short-wavelength infrared light enable small-animal imaging with deep penetration, high spatial resolution and fast acquisition speeds.

    • Eva M. Sevick-Muraca
  • Editorial |

    The early detection of cancer demands translatable light-emitting or light-collecting probes with unprecedented levels of sensitivity and specificity.

About the Journal

  • Straddling the life sciences, the physical sciences and engineering, the journal publishes biological, medical and engineering advances — technological, translational, methodological or fundamental — that can directly inspire or lead to improvements in human health.
  • The journal publishes original research in one format: Article. Review Articles provide authoritative and balanced discussions of research developments. Perspectives, Comments, and News & Views include informed opinion.
  • Chief Editor Pep Pàmies has broad editorial expertise in biomaterials and bioengineering. Associate Editors Michelle Korda, Rosy Favicchio and João Duarte have research expertise in advanced therapy clinical trials, molecular imaging and immunoengineering.

For authors & referees

  • Summary of the processes of manuscript submission, peer review and post review, and of editorial and publishing policies.
  • Explanation of the submission, peer-review, decision and revision processes.
  • Information about submitting initial, revised and final submissions.
  • Format requirements for the main text, figures, Methods and Supplementary Information of final submissions.
  • Guidelines for writing reviews, and information about confidentiality, anonymity and other aspects of the peer-review process.


  • Advances in the isolation of cancer biomarkers in blood and in imaging probes will make a difference in the early detection of cancer.
  • Engineering and materials-science advances drive the miniaturization and long-term and safe operation of bioelectronic devices for diagnostics or therapy.
  • The accelerating power of machine learning in diagnosing disease and in sorting and classifying health data will empower physicians and speed-up decision making in the clinic.

Current Issue

Volume 1 Issue 4

Image by Xin Zou, Yuan Wan and Si-Yang Zheng.

Volume 1 Issue 4

Early cancer diagnosis

This focus issue highlights advances in the isolation of cancer biomarkers in blood and in diagnostic or imaging probes for the early detection of cancer.

The cover illustrates a lipid-based nanoprobe for the isolation of nanoscale extracellular vesicles (Article; News & Views).


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