Lab-on-Bead uses tiny beads studded with “pins” that match a drug to a disease marker in a single step, so researchers can test an infinite number of possibilities for treatments all at once. When Lab-on-Bead makes a match, it has found a viable treatment for a specific disease – speeding up drug discovery by as much as 10,000 times and cutting out years of testing and re-testing in the laboratory.
“It helps the most interesting new drugs work together to stick their heads up above the crowd,” said Jed C. Macosko, Ph.D., an associate professor of Physics at Wake Forest and primary inventor of the Lab-on-Bead technology. “Each type of drug has its own molecular barcode. Then, with the help of matching DNA barcodes on each nanoscopic bead, all the drugs of a certain type find their own ‘home’ bead and work together to make themselves known in our drug discovery process. It’s kind of like when Dr. Seuss’s Whos down in Whoville all yelled together so that Horton the elephant and all of his friends could hear them.”
Macosko and Martin Guthold, Ph.D., an associate professor of physics at Wake Forest and the co-inventor of Lab-on-Bead, will work with the biotechnology startup NanoMedica Inc. to test how drug companies will use the new tool. The company has relocated to Winston-Salem from New Jersey; Macosko serves as the company’s chief innovation officer and Guthold is its chief science officer. The company has one year to work with the technology to bring it to market or relinquish the rights to the patent.
Lab-on-Bead screens millions of chemicals simultaneously using plastic beads so small that 1,000 of them would fit across a human hair. Pharmaceutical companies would use the technology to identify treatments and diagnostics for conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s.
One of the targets the research team has focused on is a breast cancer cell called HER2.
“We want to find a molecule that detects that cancer cell,” Guthold said. “In that circumstance, you could use Lab-on-Bead as a diagnostic tool.”
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center, a private, nonprofit corporation funded by the N.C. General Assembly, provided $75,000 in funding for the project. Harvard University in Boston and Université de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, are providing the chemicals being screened in the Lab-on-Bead process.
“There are an infinite number of possibilities for combining carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and other elements into different shapes that interact differently in the cells,” Macosko said. “Those shapes could block cancer – they could block all kinds of things.
“If there’s some cure to a disease or way to diagnose it, we’re going to find it faster.”
The Journal of Molecular Recognition is the peer-reviewed publication of the International Society of Molecular Recognition. The Lab-on-Bead study will be in the September/October issue; it appears online in advance of publication. Co-authors of the study include Natalie R. Gassman, J. Patrick Nelli, Samrat Dutta, Adam Kuhn and Keith Bonin, all of Wake Forest; and Zbigniew Pianowski and Nicolas Winssinger, of Université de Strasbourg.
Cheryl V. Walker | Newswise Science News
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy