Copying nature’s lock-and-key system could improve rapid medical diagnostics
(Nanowerk News) A team from Imperial College London have developed a nanoscale sensor that can selectively detect protein molecules at the single-molecule level, which could help in early stage clinical diagnosis.
|When analysing body fluid samples for signals of a disease, scientists are often looking for very rare molecules within a complex mixture. In order to find such ‘needles in a haystack’, scientists often use methods that detect single molecules at a time.|
|One promising technology is nanopore sensing, where individual molecules are passed through a very small nanometer-sized hole. This process results in each molecule producing its own unique signature, without the need for lengthy sample preparation or chemical modification.|
|However, different molecules of the same size can produce very similar signals, making it hard to uniquely identify the target molecule.|
|To solve this problem, a team led by Imperial College London have developed a system based on a nanopore and a nanoscale transistor, which can recognise target molecules in a similar way to biological receptors. The details of their new system are published today in Nature Communications (“Nanopore Extended Field Effect Transistor for Selective Single Molecule Biosensing”).|