Biomolecule Test Could Bring Diagnostics to the Bedside

It scans for genes or proteins that signal disease

THURSDAY, March 8, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- An inexpensive technique to screen for millions of different biomolecules -- such as proteins, RNA and DNA -- in a single sample has been developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers.

This technology could lead to the development of low-cost medical diagnostic tests at patients' bedsides and could also be used for genetic profiling, disease monitoring and drug discovery, the scientists said.

A paper on the research is published in the March 9 issue of the journal Science.

This technique uses tiny customizable particles (thinner than the width of a human hair) that are each equipped with a barcoded ID and one or more probe regions that turn fluorescent when they detect specific biomolecules in a sample, the scientists explained.

They said they can custom produce a "virtually unlimited" range of particles to test for millions of different biomolecules.

More information

MedLinePlus has more about different kinds of diagnostic tests.

SOURCE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, March 8, 2007
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