Analyzing a blood sample for the presence of disease markers, either in a doctors 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 Alzheimers, or identify exposure to bioterror agents such as anthrax and smallpox, they say.
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 worlds largest scientific society. The study was published online today (April 27) on the journals 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 Northwesterns 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.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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