Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA clamp to grab cancer before it develops

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
As part of an international research project, a team of researchers has developed a DNA clamp that can detect mutations at the DNA level with greater efficiency than methods currently in use. Their work could facilitate rapid screening of those diseases that have a genetic basis, such as cancer, and provide new tools for more advanced nanotechnology.

Artist’s rendering of the discovery: the research team took advantage of the ability of certain DNA sequences to form a triple helix, in order to develop a DNA clamp. This nanometer-scale clamp recognizes and binds DNA sequences more strongly and more specifically, allowing the development of more effective diagnostic. Professor Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, Department of Chemistry, Université de Montréal worked with the researcher Andrea Idili and Professor Francesco Ricci of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and Professor Kevin W. Plaxco, University of California Santa Barbara, to develop this diagnostic nanomachine.
Credit: Marco Tripodi

As part of an international research project, a team of researchers has developed a DNA clamp that can detect mutations at the DNA level with greater efficiency than methods currently in use. Their work could facilitate rapid screening of those diseases that have a genetic basis, such as cancer, and provide new tools for more advanced nanotechnology. The results of this research is published this month in the journal ACS Nano.

Toward a new generation of screening tests

An increasing number of genetic mutations have been identified as risk factors for the development of cancer and many other diseases. Several research groups have attempted to develop rapid and inexpensive screening methods for detecting these mutations. "The results of our study have considerable implications in the area of diagnostics and therapeutics," says Professor Francesco Ricci, "because the DNA clamp can be adapted to provide a fluorescent signal in the presence of DNA sequences having mutations with high risk for certain types cancer. The advantage of our fluorescence clamp, compared to other detection methods, is that it allows distinguishing between mutant and non-mutant DNA with much greater efficiency. This information is critical because it tells patients which cancer(s) they are at risk for or have."

"Nature is a constant source of inspiration in the development of technologies," says Professor Alexis Vallée-Bélisle. "For example, in addition to revolutionizing our understanding of how life works, the discovery of the DNA double helix by Watson, Crick and Franklin in 1953 also inspired the development of many diagnostic tests that use the strong affinity between two complementary DNA strands to detect mutations."

"However, it is also known that DNA can adopt many other architectures, including triple helices, which are obtained in DNA sequences rich in purine (A, G) and pyrimidine (T, C) bases," says the researcher Andrea Idili, first author of the study. "Inspired by these natural triple helices, we developed a DNA-based clamp to form a triple helix whose specificity is ten times greater than a double helix allows."

"Beyond the obvious applications in the diagnosis of genetic diseases, I believe this work will pave the way for new applications related in the area of DNA-based nanostructures and nanomachines," notes Professor Kevin Plaxco, University of California, Santa Barbara. "Such nanomachines could ultimately have a major impact on many aspects of healthcare in the future."

"The next step is to test the clamp on human samples, and if it is successful, it will begin the process of commercialization," concludes Professor Vallée-Bélisle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Idili A, Plaxco KW, Vallée-Bélisle A, Ricci F. Thermodynamic Basis for Engineering High-Affinity, High-Specificity Binding-Induced DNA Clamp Nanoswitches. ACS Nano, December 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "DNA clamp to grab cancer before it develops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219134451.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2013, December 19). DNA clamp to grab cancer before it develops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219134451.htm
University of Montreal. "DNA clamp to grab cancer before it develops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219134451.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) — America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) — China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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