Nanotechnology

Nanopores can contribute to more rapid disease identification

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June 16, 2023

(Nanowerk News) In collaboration with the University of Groningen, Professor Jørgen Kjems and his research group at the University of Aarhus have achieved a remarkable breakthrough in developing tiny nano-sized pores that can contribute to the better possibility of, among other things, detecting disease at an early stage.

Their work was recently published in a scientific journal ACS nano (“Specific Detection of Proteins by Nanobody Functional Nanopore Sensors”), demonstrates a new innovative method for finding specific proteins in complex biological fluids, such as blood, without having to chemically label proteins. This research is an important milestone in nanopore technology, and could revolutionize medical diagnostics.

nanopore Jørgen Kjems and collaborators have achieved a remarkable breakthrough in developing tiny nano-sized pores that could contribute to the better possibility of, among other things, detecting disease at an early stage. (© ACS Nano)

Nanopores are tiny channels formed in materials, which can be used as sensors. The researchers, led by Jørgen Kjems and Giovanni Maglia (Groningen Univ.), have taken it a step further by developing a special type of nanopore called ClyA with scanning molecules, called nanobodies, attached to them. These nanobodies, which are derived from antibodies, are able to recognize various proteins with astonishing accuracy.

In this study, the researchers attached the nanobodies to ClyA, using a DNA adapter. Using a series of nanobodies, they were able to fabricate many different nanopore sensors, which can detect a variety of proteins of different sizes.

The research team created nanopores with special nanobodies attached, which have the ability to detect the Spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and a protein marker for breast cancer called urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). , each. By measuring the changes in electric current caused by the presence of these proteins, researchers can find and identify individual proteins and even determine their concentration. What makes this breakthrough even more remarkable is that the nanopores remain extremely accurate and sensitive even when tested with complex samples such as blood.

Although the nanopores are not visible to the naked eye, the significance of this research is palpable. Existing technology has enabled the integration of nanopores into portable devices that can take advantage of the nanopore’s ability to scan liquids for specific molecules. Therefore, we can envision a future where patients can quickly and accurately detect diseases such as cancer or infectious diseases with a simple blood test. This can lead to earlier intervention, better treatment outcomes, and overall improvement in healthcare.

Although further study and validation is needed before this technology becomes widely available, the collaboration between the two universities brings us one step closer to this reality. This breakthrough exemplifies the power of scientific collaboration and innovation in transforming healthcare.



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