Novel probe for precise diagnosis of pathological scars
Date of Issue2018
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Hundreds of skin diseases such like acne, contact dermatitis, rosacea, keloid and skin cancer have plagued human lives physically and psychologically. Mainly caused by genetic or extrinsic factors, skin diseases vary in symptoms and severity greatly - some can be temporary and minor while some can be permanent and life-threatening. One particular example is keloid - a pathological condition caused by over-exuberant fibroblast proliferation after skin injury. In this condition, lesions grow beyond the wound and do not regress over time. This leads to pain, pruritus, contractures and might even progress into skin cancer Current diagnosis of keloid, including clinical visualization, biopsy and spectroscopy; routinely only detect late stage keloid when abundant ECM has already been deposited under the scar. Moreover, such poor diagnosis and understanding of the underlying mechanism is coupled with complex multistage therapy, which pales in patient treatment effectiveness. Precise, early stage diagnosis of skin diseases such as keloid is a critical step to effective treatment. This involves detecting a target biomarker (e.g. CTGF, FAP-), that is upregulated in disease cells as compared to normal dermal fibroblasts. The development of probes that can specifically target and quantify the biomarker would allow the early diagnosis of keloid for the timely treatment and the monitoring of the response of the scars towards the treatment. Unfortunately, there are lack of such technologies and efforts in the field. This project aims to address this unmet need by characterize a type of transdermal molecular sensors that provide quantitative fluorescence signal based on the concentration of biomarkers. Specifically, for early diagnosis and monitoring of keloid development, a molecular probe is to be designed to detect keloid fibroblast. The potential biomarker that can activate the proposed probe is fibroblast activation protein alpha (FAP-) that is overexpressed in keloid fibroblast comparing to normal fibroblast.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University