Early diagnosis of illness is an important objective of modern medicine. Often, diagnosis begins with a patient’s symptoms, however this is not ideal. Onset of a disease or other illness may occur long before any major symptoms begin to manifest, hence more reliable early detection tools are an important focus of current research. Scientists at the University of Copenhagen Nano-Science Center believe they have developed an effective technique for holding/analyzing biomarkers in the body, typically proteins, which may indicate the development of an illness prior to the onset of symptoms. Currently, this method of diagnosis is being employed in some places, however, presently available technology limits the number of proteins that can be effectively analyzed simultaneously.
The technology being developed out of Copenhagen utilizes nanowire forests, which add a third dimension to the analysis process that is usually conducted on small plates. The vertical element to the nanowire technology increases the surface area, and thus, the number of proteins that are ensnared and analyzed. Furthermore, multiple tests could be run on the same proteins without having to change the set-up, in contrast to the conventional method, where researchers have to start with a new plate for each analysis.
Hopefully, as this technology is perfected, it will begin to be used in the healthcare industry to streamline diagnoses and increase survivability of deadly illnesses, by offering earlier detection.
Paper in Nanoscale: Vertical nanowire arrays as a versatile platform for protein detection and analysis
More information from University of Copenhagen: Great potential for faster diagnoses with new method
Yona is a student at Illinois Institute of Technology studying Technical Writing. He is an avid musician, lover of all technology, photographer, and writer. He was born in Israel and currently lives in Chicago. Yona spends most of his free time playing guitar, biking, and enjoying nature.