This article was originally published in Start Up
Gold nanoparticles studded with oligonucleotides form the basis of Nanosphere Inc.'s molecular detection systems. The company claims its lead product can rapidly detect SNPs from a blood sample without PCR and with minimal preparation. Nanosphere has no intentions of entering the discovery arena or of collecting the kinds or volumes of data typical for high-density microarrays: it will develop assays only for clinically validated biomarkers.
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People have awakened to the opportunities in diagnostics. Molecular information offers the potential for increased test sensitivity, and reduced upfront sample prep using nanotechnology could provide the means for many gene- and protein-based diagnostic tests to transition out of the central lab. Nanotech may also enable the use of newly discovered or newly usable biomarkers. Finally, unlike the traditional point-of-care model, a new wave of nanotech-based instruments could bring testing even closer to the patient.
A workshop broadcast from White Oak was a shift from the fully virtual meetings held since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and may be a step toward once again staging public events there.