The researchers developed a technique to simultaneously or sequentially add optical and magnetic nanoparticles into the beads. Adding magnetic nanoparticles allows the use of a magnetic field to attract and easily remove the beads from a liquid sample.
"These nanoparticles enter the pores of the microbeads so quickly and so completely -- essentially more than 99 percent of the nanoparticles go into the pores of the beads," explained Shuming Nie, the head researcher on the project and the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering and director of Emory-Georgia Tech Nanotechnology Center.
The beads are mixed in a liquid such as urine. Viruses, proteins or other biomarkers are captured on the bead surface. After the beads are removed from the liquid, optical imaging is used to determine the concentration of a specific protein or virus in the liquid sample based on the number of proteins or viruses attached to the surface of the beads.
Tushar Sathe, a graduate student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, described the process of creating these novel beads and their clinical applications on Jan. 20 at SPIE Photonics West in San Jose, California. The work was also published in the Aug. 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry.
The technology involves embedding fluorescent quantum dots and magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles inside the beads to create dual-modality magneto-optical beads. Nie and Sathe synthesize the quantum dots in different colors by varying their size, giving the beads a unique optical signature. Having different color beads allows the researchers to detect several target molecules at the same time in the same liquid sample.
"We use the quantum dots to create a set of beads that are unique and can be distinguished from each other. It’s similar to bar-coding -- once you barcode the beads and put them in the urine or blood sample, you can remove them and decode what proteins or viruses have attached to individual beads based on their spectral signature," explained Sathe.
The process of creating these beads is quite simple, according to Sathe. The surface of the beads contains a long-chain carbon molecule that makes the beads hydrophobic, meaning they repel water. The beads are dissolved in butanol and washed several times. Then the beads are counted and optical and magnetic nanocrystals are added to the suspension either simultaneously or sequentially.
After 15-20 minutes, the butanol is removed to get rid of any remaining nanoparticles that didn’t get incorporated into the beads and the beads are washed with ethanol. Then the beads are coated with a polymer that creates a hydrophilic surface on the beads. This allows the beads to be functionalized by adding antibodies or DNA molecules to the surface that will capture the target molecules.
These beads are dual-function -- both optical and magnetic -- but according to Sathe, more functions can be added to the beads. "Adding them is as easy as adding the nanoparticles into the solution. You just have to make sure the nanoparticle surface is hydrophobic so that it interacts with the beads," said Sathe.
The primary biomedical applications for this new technology will be to detect cancer and neurological diseases by identifying certain molecules present in human blood or urine that indicate specific diseases, according to Nie, who is also professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry, materials science & engineering, and hematology and oncology at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
"Some of the biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease have very low concentrations in the blood so you need highly sensitive techniques that can find a specific molecule to diagnose this disease," explained Nie. "Our technique could also be used to monitor therapeutic response. For example, if the viral level decreases in samples taken at later dates, then we know the drug is probably working."
This new technology allows the researchers to analyze very low concentrations of target molecules. "Instead of analyzing a liter of sample where the concentration could be very dilute and you might not see the target molecule you’re looking for, you can let the beads capture the molecules on their surface, remove them from the liquid, and then just measure the number of molecules attached to the beads," said Nie.
John Toon | EurekAlert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences