Hypercalcemia is comparatively common in patients with cancer, occurring in close to twenty to thirty % of cases. It happens in patients with both solid tumors and medical specialty malignancies. The foremost common cancers related to hypercalcemia are breast and lung cancer and multiple myeloma. Malignancy is usually evident clinically by the time it causes hypercalcemia, and patients with hypercalcemia of malignancy typically have a poor prognosis.
The association of Hypercalcemia of malignancy has been observed and reported with breast, lung, prostate, kidney, colon, and hematological cancers.
With the help of engineered cells, a synthetic biomedical tattoo can be used for the detection of hypercalcemia situation in mice- reported by researchers.
“The response of the calcium sensor was sufficiently strong to drive the production of the suntan pigment melanin to a level that could be seen on the skin, and the device recorded persistent hypercalcemia but was not activated by short-term calcium fluctuations,” Dr. Martin Fussenegger of the University of Basel, in Switzerland, told Reuters Health by email.
Dr. Fussenegger’s group built cells to express calcium-detecting receptor (CaSR) connected to a signaling cascade that prompts expression of tyrosinase and successive synthesis of melanin pigment.
When cultivated in medium with mild (1.6 mM) and moderate (1.8 mM) hypercalcaemia, these cells showed significant melanin production, whereas no pigment production was determined with exposure to low or ordinary concentrations of Ca.
Visible melanin production occurred solely after a minimum of twelve hours of moderate hypercalcemia or twenty-four hours of mild hypercalcemia, this news was reported by the researchers in Science translational drugs, online April 18.
Nude mice with symptomless hypercalcemic mammary or colon glandular cancer injected subcutaneously with nonencapsulated built cells developed visible diagnostic black spots on the skin that persisted for over three weeks.
In distinction, animals with normocalcemic adenocarcinomas injected with the cells failed to develop any skin tattoos.
Similar results were obtained when implanting microencapsulated built cells subcutaneously in wild-type mice with symptomless hypercalcemic carcinomas or normocalcemic adenocarcinomas.
“Although hypercalcemia is also associated with other pathologies, our findings demonstrate that it is possible to detect hypercalcemia associated with cancer in murine models using this cell-based diagnostic strategy,” the researchers conclued.
“Assembling a biomedical tattoo from a handful of simple native human genetic components that detect cancer in a mouse and seeing the black spot appear in cancer mice was just amazing,” Dr. Fussenegger said.
“We will need to repeat the experiments in larger animals, such as mini-pigs or non-human primates,” he said. “However, we have already tested the device in pig skin, which resembles human skin.”
“Although we have tested our biomedical tattoo with hypercalcemic cancers, the biomedical tattoo could in principle accept input from any biomarker,” Dr. Fussenegger said. “It could, therefore, be foreseen that the biomedical tattoo could detect (other diseases) besides or in addition to cancer.”