Screening, monitoring, and diagnosis are critical in oncology treatment. However, there are limitations with the current clinical methods, notably the time, cost, and special facilities required for radioisotope-based methods. An alternative approach, which uses magnetic beads, offers faster analyses with safer materials over a wide range of oncological applications. Magnetic beads have been used to detect extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the serum of pancreatic cancer patients with statistically different EV levels in preoperative, postoperative, and negative control samples. By incorporating fluorescence, magnetic beads have been used to quantitatively measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a prostate cancer biomarker, which is sensitive enough even at levels found in healthy patients. Immunostaining has also been incorporated with magnetic beads and compared with conventional immunohistochemical methods to detect lesions, the results suggest that immunostained magnetic beads could be used for pathological diagnosis during surgery. Furthermore, magnetic nanoparticles, such as superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), can detect sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer in a clinical setting, as well as those in gallbladder cancer in animal models, in a surgery-applicable timeframe. Ultimately, recent research into the applications of magnetic beads in oncology suggests that the screening, monitoring, and diagnosis of cancers could be improved and made more accessible through the adoption of this technology.
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