Posted: January 12, 2010

Gold nanoparticles used in detecting meningococcal meningitis

(Nanowerk News) Research by an RMIT University PhD graduate has led to the development of a diagnosis method that uses gold nanoparticles to detect deadly meningococcal meningitis disease in its early stages.
The method developed by Dr Sapna Thoduka uses a change in the colour of a gold nanoparticle solution to indicate the presence of meningococcal DNA.
The change in colour of the gold nanoparticle solution can be detected by the naked eye and the technique is being developed further for use in a point-of-care clinical setting, for the diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis.
“In the future, this will hopefully lead to more rapid detection of meningococcal disease and earlier treatment, which will ultimately result in fewer deaths and less severe complications,” Dr Thoduka said.
Meningococcal meningitis is a disease that progresses rapidly and can cause death if left untreated. Even if treated, it can still lead to severe complications.
By diagnosing the disease early, it is possible to prevent death or severe complications by giving patients the most appropriate treatment.
“I was interested in pursuing this research because of the severe nature of this disease and its rapid onset, as well as the multidisciplinary aspect of the research,” Dr Thoduka said.
“My research involved applying knowledge about the unusual physical properties of gold nanoparticles and chemical interactions between DNA and the gold nanoparticles, to develop a method for detecting specific DNA sequences.”
For her research project, Dr Thoduka worked with Nanotechnology Victoria.
“I was fortunate that Nanotechnology Victoria was interested in my research,” she said.
“I also hope that the detection method I’ve developed can be expanded to be used in the diagnosis of other diseases in the future.”
Source: RMIT University