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Nanoscale Metal–Organic Frameworks in Detecting Cancer Biomarkers


Following efficient performance of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) as recognition elements in gas sensors, biosensors based on MOFs are now being investigated to capture and quantify potential cancer biomarkers such as circulating tumor cells (CTCs), nucleic acids and proteins. Current status of MOFs-based biosensors in the detection of early stage of cancer is in infancy, although it has significantly emerged since the beginning of this decade. That said, salient research has been conducted in the past five years to utilize the distinguished porous crystalline structure of MOFs for highly sensitive and selective detection of cancer biomarkers. In this pursual, MOFs designed with bimetallic assembly, doped with magnetic nanoparticles, coated with polymers, and even conjugated with peptides or oligonucleotides have shown promising outcomes in detecting CTCs, nucleic acids and proteins. Especially, aptamers-conjugated MOFs are able to perform at a lower limit of detection down to femtomolar, implying their efficacy for the point of care testing in clinical trials. In this way, aptasensor based on aptamers-conjugated MOFs present a newer sub-branch, to be coined as MOFTA sensor in the current review. Considering emerging progress and promising outcomes of MOFTA sensors as well as a variety of MOFs-based techniques of detecting cancer biomarkers, this review will highlight their significant advances and related aspects in the recent five years on the context of detecting CTCs, nucleic acids and proteins for the early-stage detection of cancer.

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Article information

15 Nov 2019
10 Jan 2020
First published
13 Jan 2020

J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Review Article

Nanoscale Metal–Organic Frameworks in Detecting Cancer Biomarkers

S. Afreen, Z. He, Y. Xiao and J. Zhu, J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C9TB02579K

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