|Posted: Jan 19, 2017|
New, old science combine to make faster medical test(Nanowerk News) A University of Central Florida (UCF) researcher has combined cutting-edge nanoscience with a magnetic phenomenon discovered more than 170 years ago to create a method for speedy medical tests.
|The discovery, if commercialized, could lead to faster test results for HIV, Lyme disease, syphilis, rotavirus and other infectious conditions.|
|“I see no reason why a variation of this technique couldn’t be in every hospital throughout the world,” said Shawn Putnam, an assistant professor in the University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering & Computer Science.|
|At the core of the research recently published in the academic journal Small ("High-Throughput, Protein-Targeted Biomolecular Detection Using Frequency-Domain Faraday Rotation Spectroscopy") are nanoparticles. Putnam’s team coated nanoparticles with the antibody to BSA, or bovine serum albumin, which is commonly used as the basis of a variety of diagnostic tests.|
|BSA proteins preferentially bind with the antibodies that coat the nanoparticles. (Image: UCF)|
|By mixing the nanoparticles in a test solution – such as one used for a blood test – the BSA proteins preferentially bind with the antibodies that coat the nanoparticles, like a lock and key.|
|That reaction was already well known. But Putnam’s team came up with a novel way of measuring the quantity of proteins present. He used nanoparticles with an iron core and applied a magnetic field to the solution, causing the particles to align in a particular formation. As proteins bind to the antibody-coated particles, the rotation of the particles becomes sluggish, which is easy to detect with laser optics.|
|The interaction of a magnetic field and light is known as Faraday rotation, a principle discovered by scientist Michael Faraday in 1845. Putnam adapted it for biological use.|
|“It’s an old theory, but no one has actually applied this aspect of it,” he said.|
|Other antigens and their unique antibodies could be substituted for the BSA protein used in the research, allowing medical tests for a wide array of infectious diseases.|
|The proof of concept shows the method could be used to produce biochemical immunology test results in as little as 15 minutes, compared to several hours for ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which is currently a standard approach for biomolecule detection.|
|Source: University of Central Florida|
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