Pancreatic cancer is becoming the second leading cause of cancer deaths, mainly attributed to late diagnosis. Surgical resection remains the only plausible treatment for curing patients of this cancer, but this is only possible when the cancer is localized making early detection vital. Currently, the most common early diagnostic method is the tri-phasic pancreaticprotocol CT scan. This method however has a low accuracy and specificity making it an ineffective early diagnostic. This purpose of this research was to develop a non-invasive, fast, and highly sensitive early diagnostic method for pancreatic cancer through the applications of nanotechnology. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is an innovative nano sensing method which results from plasmonic effect through molecules interacting with the surface of metal nanoparticles. This is a new method for trace biomarker detections and shows great potential to be an early nano-diagnostic method for Pancreatic Cancer. This project uses Leucine as a biomarker for the demonstration of SERS for early pancreatic cancer detection. This is because recent studies showthat Leucine has linked its overexpression with pancreatic cancer;studies have found a specificity of 100% with the use of Leucine and early diagnosis 2 to 5 years earlier than current diagnostic methods for pancreatic cancer. The parameters for SERS enhancement were optimized for the detection of Leucine using 20 nm Ag NPs. Predictive curves with linear fits were generated from an analysis of feature peaks giving the highest sensitivity for trace concentrations. This new finding shows the promising development of an early diagnostic method that is non-invasive, efficient and highly accurate for pancreatic cancer through SERS nano sensing.
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