Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Device Could Shorten Drug Development

08.06.2005


The sequencing of the human genome was only the beginning of a much more complex task – deciphering the secrets of cellular chemistry and the mechanisms of disease. While the genome serves as a blueprint to understanding the body, proteins represent the materials that carry out these plans.



There are about 2 million distinct proteins in the human body. That’s a lot of proteins – and the future of personalized medicine depends on a better understanding of proteins, including their structure and interactions with drugs and medical devices.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a device that has the potential to significantly reduce the time needed to analyze these important proteins, shortening development time for new drugs and bringing down the overall cost of protein analysis technology. According to findings published in Applied Physics Letters, the device can potentially analyze proteins much faster, more gently and at a lower cost.


“The device has the potential to completely change the landscape of this field,” said Andrei Fedorov, an associate professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech who leads the project. Fedorov’s collaborators on the project include Professor F.L. Degertekin from the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Professor F.M. Fernandez from the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

The device is a critical component of a mass spectrometer, an instrument that can detect proteins present even in ultra-small concentrations by measuring the relative masses of ionized atoms and molecules. Mass spectrometers can provide a complete protein profile and essentially make proteomics, the study of how proteins are produced and interact within an organ, cell or tissue, possible.

“You need to be able to take a blood sample, pass it through a system and figure out the complete protein profile of the human plasma. It’s an extremely technology-intensive process and you need to have a technology to do this kind of testing quickly and inexpensively,” Fedorov said.

But before the mass spectrometer can analyze a sample, molecules must first be converted to gas-phase charged ions through electrospray ionization (ESI), a process that produces ions by evaporating charged droplets obtained through spraying or bubbling.

Georgia Tech’s AMUSE (Array of Micromachined Ultra Sonic Electrospray) technology has several key advantages over currently available electrospray methods. In AMUSE, the sample aerosolization and protein charging processes are separated, giving AMUSE the unique ability to operate at low voltages with a wide range of solvents. In addition, AMUSE is a nanoscale ion source and drastically lowers the required sample size by improving sample use.

Also important, AMUSE is a “high-throughput” microarray device, meaning that it can analyze many more samples at a time than a conventional electrospray device.

This innovation will be particularly useful for the pharmaceutical industry. Drugs target certain proteins to achieve their designed effect on the body. The pharmaceutical industry must test large numbers compounds on even larger numbers of proteins to determine what effect a substance has on the body and whether or not it is safe. With AMUSE, the time-consuming process could be streamlined considerably, which could significantly shorten drug development time.

In addition to its ability to handle a much higher number of samples, AMUSE can also be manufactured more cheaply than current ESI devices. Conventional electrospray devices in mass spectrometers generally cost around $150 a piece and must be cleaned after each sample is analyzed. AMUSE could be made disposable and mass produced at a few dollars a piece, making Georgia Tech’s device a key step toward more affordable mass spectrometers for clinical applications.

For example, to determine whether a patient has cancer, a small blood sample is typically frozen and sent out to a testing lab at another facility. This freezing process and trip to the lab have a significant impact, damaging the proteins and possibly giving an incomplete analysis. In the future, with a powerful and portable mass spectrometer, it may be possible for a doctor to take a sample directly from the patient, place it in the device and receive an analysis on the spot.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation’s premiere research universities. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 public universities, Georgia Tech educates more than 16,000 students every year through its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech maintains a diverse campus and is among the nation’s top producers of women and African-American engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute. During the 2003-2004 academic year, Georgia Tech reached $341.9 million in new research award funding.

Megan McRainey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu
http://www.icpa.gatech.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds
17.05.2018 | University of the Basque Country

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>