Simple, low-cost and timely optical biosensors for the detection of epigenetics biomarkers: the future of cancer diagnosis

C. S. Huertas and L. M. Lechuga

European Medical Journal, 5, 2017, 54-61

The cancer burden continues to grow with enormous physical, emotional, and financial pressure on individuals, families, communities, and health systems. Early detection and effective treatment are crucial. The analysis of epigenetic biomarkers is presented as an exceptional solution for early cancer diagnosis and personalised treatment design. These brand new biomarkers have initiated a diagnostic revolution because of their predictive capability and reversibility, opening the window for timely diagnostics and personalised medicine. In recent years, the potential of optical biosensors for epigenetic biomarker evaluation has been revealed. Nanotechnology is promoting the appearance of new advanced biosensors able to be integrated in complete lab-on-chip platforms. Lab-on-chip biosensors are offering simplified, cost-effective, and fast results to solve the current diagnostic problems. In this review, we present the advantages offered by the analysis of epigenetic routes in cancer diagnosis and the current advances in optical biosensors for cancer epigenetic analysis, showing how the new biosensor solutions manage to surpass the challenges encountered during the analysis of each epigenetic mechanism.
Keywords: Cancer diagnosis, biosensors, nanomedicine, biomarkers, biotechnology, epigenetics, gene regulation pathways.

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