Nanotechnology could revolutionize diagnostics

Scientists from Seattle, Pasadena, and Brisbane have developed and commercialized a nanotech barcode that could revolutionize medical diagnostics by providing a very sensitive method of counting individual messenger RNA molecules to determine what genes are being expressed in particular cells. From Research Australia, via AAAS EurekAlert “Fluorescent nano-barcodes could revolutionize diagnostics

A new technology with research and clinical application including the early detection of disease has been invented and developed by University of Queensland researchers.

Dr Krassen Dimitrov, from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology, has developed fluorescent “barcodes” called nanostrings, offers greater sensitivity and accuracy than current detection methods.

Dr Dimitrov said nanostrings bind to RNA molecules for digital gene expression analysis.

“Because this system can count the exact number of biomolecules present we can get an extremely accurate and sensitive picture of gene expression at a particular point in time,” Dr Dimitrov said.

“This quantitative data is superior to other gene expression systems such as microarrays, which rely on the analogue measurement of fluorescence and therefore are less accurate and have a limited range.

“The nanostring is an important technological development in both clinical and research settings. We will be able to more accurately detect molecules associated with particular diseases and in the research arena, we will be able to identify new molecules associated with diseases and trace these back to the genes responsible.”

The research was published in Nature Biotechnology (abstract)

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