FEB 05, 2021 6:02 PM PST

Using Technology To Advancing Biomarker Testing

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Diagnosing disease depends largely on biomarkers. These markers are complex molecules ranging from our genes to hormones and lipids.

Learn more about biomarkers:

Biomarkers are present in wide range of bodily fluids and tissues. Although diverse, they do share one commonality—they occur in low concentrations and as such challenging to detect. Many detection techniques look for ‘molecular probes’ like antibodies or nucleic acids that can bind to the desired biomarker. When these probes bind, they will undergo certain reactions that ultimately secrete a fluorescent signal.

"DNA-based nano-antennas have been studied for the last few years," says Kateryna Trofymchuk, joint first author of the study. "But the fabrication of these nanostructures presents challenges." Philip Tinnefeld's research group has now succeeded in configuring the components of their nano-antennas more precisely, and in positioning the DNA molecules that serve as capture probes at the site of signal amplification. Together, these modifications enable the fluorescence signal to be more effectively amplified. Furthermore, in the minuscule volume involved, which is on the order of zeptoliters (a zeptoliter equals 10-21 of a liter), even more molecules can be captured.

Learn more about fluorescence in molecular probes:

"In one sample, we can simultaneously produce billions of these nano-antennas, using a procedure that basically consists of pipetting a few solutions together," says Trofymchuk.

"In the future," says Viktorija Glembockyte, also joint first author of the publication, "our technology could be utilized for diagnostic tests even in areas in which access to electricity or laboratory equipment is restricted. We have shown that we can directly detect small fragments of DNA in blood serum, using a portable, smartphone-based microscope that runs on a conventional USB power pack to monitor the assay."

Tinnefeld is optimistic: "The past year has shown that there is always a need for new and innovative diagnostic methods, and perhaps our technology can one day contribute to the development of an inexpensive and reliable diagnostic test that can be carried out at home."

Source: Science Daily

 

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
OCT 14, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Robots Are Moving Developmental Biology Forward
OCT 14, 2020
Robots Are Moving Developmental Biology Forward
Researchers have created a robot that can analyze the effects of mutations that occur in portions of the genome that hel ...
OCT 19, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Mapping the Human Proteome
OCT 19, 2020
Mapping the Human Proteome
To learn more about biology and medicine, researchers have used advances in molecular techniques and computational biolo ...
OCT 08, 2020
Technology
Computational Tools Reveal Differences Between C3 and C4 Plants
OCT 08, 2020
Computational Tools Reveal Differences Between C3 and C4 Plants
The COVID-19 pandemic has made life hard for a lot of researchers. For one, they could not be physically in the lab and ...
OCT 21, 2020
Technology
Can House Paint Revolutionize Technology?
OCT 21, 2020
Can House Paint Revolutionize Technology?
Can house paint revolutionize technology? Apparently, yes! Researchers discovered that titanium oxide, a component of pa ...
DEC 22, 2020
Technology
New RNA Discovery Tool Accelerates Drug Discovery
DEC 22, 2020
New RNA Discovery Tool Accelerates Drug Discovery
Some diseases, such as metastatic breast cancer are known as “undruggable” or best described as unresponsive ...
DEC 24, 2020
Technology
Computational Tool Advances Cell Imaging
DEC 24, 2020
Computational Tool Advances Cell Imaging
Researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have developed a novel computational tool that can construct three-d ...
Loading Comments...