The Single Sample that can Detect Hundreds of Proteins


A team of scientists from the McGill University developed a new technology which might come in handy when it comes to the analysis of proteins. This technology offers a cost-effective, quick, and high volume tool to both research labs and hospitals.

The critical information regarding our health come from the proteins from our blood. After the clinicians or scientists analyze them, they can tell whether your chest pain is because of cancer or a cardiac event.

Details on the technology

Our body has over 20,000 proteins, but the actual protein tests cand only identify one at a time. This is proof that the tools used for the test were not improved too much over the last five decades.

Now, from a single blood sample, doctors can detect hundreds of protein, thanks to the technique developed by Professor David Juncker, Ph.D. candidate Milad Dagher and the team from McGill’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Nature Nanotechnology has just published a part of their work which explains how they have found a better way in which multicolor fluorescent dyes cand barcode micro-beads. The markers can be detected in parallel from the same solution by generating upwards of about 500 different colors of micro-beads. For example, marker one will be identified by a blue barcode, marker to by a red barcode and so on. After that, the proteins on the colored beads count begins. A laser-based instrument aka a cytometer will be used to do so.

To sum up

It is not the first time this type of analysis method comes up, but it is the first time when the multicolor dyes are no longer that limited. The team developed a new algorithm so there will be more micro-beads generated and with more accuracy. This process can be compared to the color wheel that is used to predict what color will result from the mixing of others.


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