Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Future Blood Tests May Use Tiny Bar-codes To Speed Disease Diagnosis

Date:
April 28, 2004
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Analyzing a blood sample for the presence of disease markers, either in a doctor's office or on the battlefield, could soon become as quick and easy as scanning the bar-code of a grocery item.

Analyzing a blood sample for the presence of disease markers, either in a doctor's office or on the battlefield, could soon become as quick and easy as scanning the bar-code of a grocery item. Using nanotechnology, researchers at Northwestern University have developed a way to label tiny disease markers in blood with unique DNA tags, which they call bio-bar-codes. The tags can then be scanned by an instrument to identify diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's, or identify exposure to bioterror agents such as anthrax and smallpox, they say.

Related Articles


Details about the analytical test, which appears promising in experimental studies, are scheduled to appear in the May 19 print issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The study was published online today (April 27) on the journal's Web site.

"This test has the potential to completely revolutionize medical diagnostics," says Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D., head of the study and director of Northwestern's Institute for Nanotechnology, located in Evanston, Ill. He says that the test will bring efficient, high-tech DNA diagnostics to unprecedented settings, including the battlefield and Third World villages, as well as hospitals and the home.

The test is easier, faster, more accurate and less expensive than polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is currently used to detect and quantify DNA samples, he says. The new test, called bio-bar-code amplification (BCA), could be ready for marketing in as little as one year, Mirkin says.

Unlike conventional tests that require one or more vials of blood, the new test allows a single drop of blood to paint a patient's comprehensive disease profile in about the same amount of time it takes for a routine doctor's visit.

The test is based on a set of chemical probes that are used to tag disease markers. If one is trying to detect exposure to anthrax, for instance, a set of probes is prepared that represents a unique molecular tag for anthrax-related DNA. One probe includes a magnetic nanoparticle containing a single DNA strand that matches the target (anthrax) DNA. The other probe consists of a gold nanoparticle attached to a DNA strand that also matches the target (anthrax) DNA. The gold nanoparticle is also attached to hundreds of DNA bar-code sequences that are unique identification tags for the anthrax target DNA. If anthrax is present in the blood, its DNA marker is then sandwiched between the two probes, separated magnetically, scanned and identified.

So far, the test has proven accurate in detecting anthrax lethal factor — a marker for anthrax exposure. It has also been used to detect prostate specific antigen — a marker for prostate cancer — at low levels. One could conceivably develop a bar-code for every disease-related protein or DNA sequence, according to Mirkin.

Current scanners that can read the bar-codes are bulky, stationary instruments, but a handheld prototype is in development. If all goes well in future studies, bar-code scanning of blood could be developed for home use, allowing consumers to make their own initial medical diagnoses quickly and easily, says Mirkin.

Nanosphere, a company that develops nanoparticle-based biodetection technology for medical diagnostics, was started four years ago by Mirkin.

Funding for this research was provided by the Air force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Future Blood Tests May Use Tiny Bar-codes To Speed Disease Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428060851.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2004, April 28). Future Blood Tests May Use Tiny Bar-codes To Speed Disease Diagnosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428060851.htm
American Chemical Society. "Future Blood Tests May Use Tiny Bar-codes To Speed Disease Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428060851.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins