RNA-nanoprobes for early cancer diagnosis


Nanoprobe technology can be used for the detection and analysis of mRNA at the single cell level, with application in the early detection, prognosis and prediction of lung cancer.

Despite rapid advances in the molecular profiling of cancer and targeted therapies, the lack of sensitive and affordable assays for early diagnosis of aggressive primary cancer is the most important obstacle to reducing mortality from cancer. 

We are developing a prototype diagnostic tool for lung cancer, the main cause of mortality from cancer in Europe, as there is a lack of effective tools for its early detection and for the monitoring of recurrence.


Our RNA-nanoprobe technology is a disruptive diagnostic that bridges a critical gap in technologies for the detection of molecular markers in minimal biological samples. Our RNA-nanoprobe relies on a novel type of gold nanoprobe to detect ribonucleic acid (RNA) at the single cell level through fluorescence detection systems such as flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. This allows us to analyse the spatial and temporal dynamics of RNA biomarkers at the single cell level.

We are developing our RNA-nanoprobe for the identification of molecular biomarkers characterizing cancer in Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) from the blood of lung cancer patients. This approach exploits a unique combination of 26 messenger RNA (mRNA) genes from an ectopically activated germline, and placental genes which have recently been identified as a prognostic molecular signature of aggressive metastatic cancers.

Linking our nanoprobe technology with this unique set of molecular biomarkers provides the chance for a gamechanging in vitro diagnostic tool.

Key benefits

  • unprecedented opportunities for detecting RNA in onlysmall subsets of cells among large populations
  • an affordable diagnostic technique for improvedclinical decisions

Markets & applications

  • molecular diagnostics companies
  • cancer diagnosis, prognosis and prediction

Licensing & development

We're seeking partners to develop a prototype diagnostic tool. Please contact the RKES team for further information.