Detection of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma by Ex Vivo Magnetic Levitation of Plasma Protein-Coated Nanoparticles

Luca Digiacomo, Erica Quagliarini, Vincenzo La Vaccara, Alessandro Coppola, Roberto Coppola, Damiano Caputo, Heinz Amenitsch, Barbara Sartori, Giulio Caracciolo, Daniela Pozzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pancreatic Ductal Adeno Carcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal malignancies worldwide, and the development of sensitive and specific technologies for its early diagnosis is vital to reduce morbidity and mortality rates. In this proof‐of‐concept study, we demonstrate the diagnostic ability of magnetic levitation (MagLev) to detect PDAC by using levitation of graphene oxide (GO) nanoparticles (NPs) decorated by a biomolecular corona of human plasma proteins collected from PDAC and non‐oncological patients (NOP). Levitation profiles of corona‐coated GO NPs injected in a MagLev device filled with a paramagnetic solution of dysprosium(III) nitrate hydrate in water enables to distinguish PDAC patients from NOP with 80% specificity, 100% sensitivity, and global classification accuracy of 90%. Our findings indicate that Maglev could be a robust and instrumental tool for the early detection of PDAC and other cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5155
Number of pages13
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021


  • pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • magnetic levitation
  • protein corona
  • graphene oxide
  • early cancer diagnosis
  • Early cancer diagnosis
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • Graphene oxide
  • Protein corona
  • Magnetic levitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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