A nanoscale imaging technique that could improve the reliability of an important diagnostic test for breast cancer, and other biomedical tests, is described by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers in the Feb. 11 online issue of Nucleic Acids Research.
The method involves attaching fluorescent particles just 15 nanometers (billionths of a meter) in diameter to particular sections of DNA, followed by analysis of the intensity of the fluorescence signal and other properties. These particles, called quantum dots, have unique electronic and optical properties that make them easier to detect than conventional fluorescent tags used in biomedical research. The NIST team demonstrated that quantum dots give off signals that are 200 to 1,100 percent more intense than those from two types of conventional tags, and also are more stable when exposed to light.
The new technique is a spin-off of an ongoing NIST effort to develop standards for a test that identifies breast cancer patients who would benefit from a particular drug therapy. The standards are expected to help reduce uncertainty in the so-called FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) test that detects a particular gene. Excess copies of this gene result in over-production of a protein and cause tumor cells to grow rapidly. Potentially, quantum dots could be used to tag these genes.
Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
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Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
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