Detection of Cancer miRNA Biomarkers Using Toehold Switches

Detection of Cancer miRNA Biomarkers Using Toehold Switches

Detection of Cancer miRNA Biomarkers Using Toehold Switches

miRNA (microRNA) is a class of non-coding single-stranded RNA molecules of about 22 nucleotides in length, encoded by endogenous genes. There may be more than 1000 miRNAs in humans, and they are widely involved in a variety of different physiological processes. As post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression, dysregulation of miRNAs is associated with many diseases, such as cancer, central nervous system (CNS) diseases, inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic diseases. Recently, miRNAs have emerged as a novel cancer-specific biomarker. The detection of cancer-related miRNA biomarkers has become particularly important to achieve early screening of cancer and to differentiate multiple cancer types. 

Conventional Testing Methods

miRNAs have specific expression profiles in cancer cells and tissues, and they can enter the humoral circulation. This allows miRNAs to serve as potential non-invasive markers for human cancers. At present, the detection methods of miRNA are divided into direct detection methods and indirect detection methods. Direct detection methods mainly include fluorescence, colorimetric, and electrical-based methods, etc. Although these methods can minimize the changes introduced during sample measurement, they have low sensitivity. Indirect detection methods mainly include Northern blot, microarray, and RT-qPCR. Although these methods are widely used, both Northern blot and microarray methods are semi-quantitative and have poor sensitivity.

Toehold Switches in Cancer miRNA Biomarkers Detection

Toehold switches are particularly promising bioengineering molecules capable of detecting almost any RNA. Therefore, toehold switches play an important role in the detection of cancer biomarkers. Existing research teams have applied toehold switches to the detection of cancer-specific miRNA biomarkers, and have achieved quite good results. At CD BioSciences, based on the established toehold switches technology platform, we provide you with biosensors development services and detection services for cancer-related miRNA biomarkers.

The Development Services We Can Provide Based on Toehold Switches

Early screening of cancer is of great significance for cancer treatment and research. To help researchers who are engaged in the development of methods for early detection of cancer to save time and energy, CD BioSciences continues to expand its research field, providing them with the development services of toehold switch sensors for cancer-specific miRNA biomarkers. Currently, the main types of sensors for miRNA biomarkers that we can develop for you are as follows.

Our Testing Services Based on the Toehold Switches Platform

Toehold switches can detect almost all RNA sequences. Using this feature, we can provide detection services for various cancer based on toehold switches for scientists engaged in cancer-related research. Currently, our main coverage of cancer miRNA biomarkers is shown in the table.

Cancer Type miRNA Biomarkers Cancer Type miRNA Biomarkers
Lung cancer Let-7a Colon cancer miRNA 126
Gastric cancer miRNA 1 Non-small cell lung cancer miRNA 125b
Rectal cancer miRNA 122 Triple-negative breast cancer miR-199a-5p
Colorectal cancer miRNA 124 Prostate cancer miR-222, miR-125b

Advantages of Toehold Switches in Cancer miRNA Biomarkers Detection

  • Can be performed up to a single-cell level.
  • May rapidly screen for early markers of cancer.
  • Optical (fluorescence) and electrochemical detection methods are available.

CD BioSciences has made considerable achievements in biosynthesis with its advanced toehold switches technology platform. We look forward to providing you with toehold switch sensor development services for cancer miRNA biomarkers and toehold switch-based detection services. If you are interested in these services, please contact us directly.


  1. Heo, T.; et al. Detection of pks Island mRNAs Using Toehold Sensors in Escherichia coli. Life (Basel). 2021, 11(11): 1280.
  2. Wang, S.; et al. A Novel Synthetic Toehold Switch for MicroRNA Detection in Mammalian Cells. ACS Synth Biol. 2019, 8(5): 1079-1088.
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