By altering the technical design of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for malaria drug resistance, it’s possible to build a simpler, faster assay suitable for testing whole blood in the field, particularly in low-resource settings, Vanderbilt University researchers reported June 13 in a proof-of-principle study published online in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
The study establishes the principle of a new approach, but it may take years for the test to be validated and broadly available. The most likely use for the technology would be in low-resource settings, said Frederick Haselton, PhD, who has patented the PCR instrument but not the underlying molecular biology tools, along with Nicholas Adams, PhD, both co-authors. These types of assays are usually vetted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and then rolled out on a country-by-country basis, Haselton explained in an email to LabPulse.com… Continue reading.
Imagine a “DNA photocopier” small enough to hold in your hand that could identify the bacteria or virus causing an infection even before the symptoms appear.
This possibility is raised by a fundamentally new method for controlling a powerful but finicky process called the polymerase chain reaction. PCR was developed in 1983 by Kary Mullis, who received the Nobel Prize for his invention. It is generally considered one of the most important advances in the field of molecular biology because it can make billions of identical copies of small segments of DNA so they can be used in molecular and genetic analyses.
Vanderbilt University biomedical engineers Nicholas Adams and Frederick Haselton came up with an out-of-the-box idea, which they call adaptive PCR. It uses left-handed DNA (L-DNA) to monitor and control the molecular reactions that take place in the PCR process.