The approach was demonstrated in human samples, and researchers are now developing the technique for placement on a chip, which could provide fast, simple and reliable information about a patient. A diagnostic device based on this chip also could be made portable.
The researchers developed a silver-based nanoparticle that homes in on a specific molecular marker that spills into the bloodstream at the first stages of an infection. When light is aimed at the sample, the nanoparticle attached to a molecular marker will reflect a distinct optical fingerprint.
"We have demonstrated for the first time that the use of these nanoprobes can detect specific genetic materials taken from human samples," said Tuan Vo-Dinh, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke' Pratt School of Engineering and director of The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke. He is also a professor of chemistry.
The results of the Duke experiments appear online in the journal Analytica Chimica Acta. Hsin-Neng Wang, a post-doctoral fellow in Vo-Dinh's laboratory, was the first author of the paper.
In this interdisciplinary project, the Vo-Dinh team collaborated closely with scientists at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy (IGSP) who have developed a method of measuring the host's response to infection through RNA profiling.
The research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Projects Agency, the Department of Defense and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
In the Duke experiments, the nanoprobes are used in conjunction with a phenomenon first described in the 1970s known as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). When light, usually from a laser, is shined on a sample, the target molecule vibrates and scatters back in its own unique light, often referred to as the Raman scatter. However, this Raman response is extremely weak.
"When the target molecule is coupled with a metal nanoparticle or nanostructure, the Raman response is greatly enhanced by the SERS effect – often by more than a million times," said Vo-Dinh, who has been studying the potential applications of SERS for decades.
"This important proof-of-concept study now paves the way for the development of devices that measure multiple genome-derived markers that will assist with more accurate and rapid diagnosis of infectious disease at the point of care," said Geoffrey Ginsburg, director of genomic medicine at the IGSP, executive director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at Duke Medicine, and a professor of medicine and pathology.
"This would guide care decisions that will lead to more effective treatment and improved outcomes of antimicrobial therapy," Ginsburg said. "Point-of-care diagnostics holds great promise to accelerate precision medicine and, more importantly, help patients in limited-resource settings gain access to molecular testing."
Other members of the team were Pratt's Andrew Fales and IGSP's Aimee Zaas, Christopher Woods and Thomas Burke.
Citation: "SERS Molecular Sentinel Nanoprobes for Viral Infection Diagnostics," Hsin-Neng Wang, et.al, Analytica Chimica Acta, 5 July 2013. DOI 10.1016/j.aca.2013.05.017
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences