The ability to detect a single chemical at extremely low concentrations and high contamination is vital for earlier disease diagnosis. Now, researchers have discovered a new method to accurately do just this.

The researchers, who conducted the study in the laboratory of Peixuan Guo, the William S. Farish Endowed Chair in Nanobiotechnology at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, found that the phi29 DNA packaging nanomotor connector can be used to sense chemicals with reactive thioesters or malemidie using single channel conduction assays based on 3 observable fingerprints.

According to the researchers, this system could also be developed into sensing devices that are extremely sensitive.

Not only does detecting a single chemical help to detect disease earlier, it is also vital for toxin/drug screening, athlete drug monitoring, environmental surveillance, and homeland security.

In early stages of disease the concentration of an unusual metabolic product is extremely low. The ability to detect a single molecule will help researchers detect diseases, such as cancer, earlier.

Guo explained: “Sensitivity of detection is a major challenge in the diagnosis of many diseases. Our next step is to find one metabolic product of one disease and determine the reality in earlier disease diagnosis.”

Farzin Haque, research assistant professor at the UK College of Pharmacy, said:

“The poof-of-principle studies described in this study will be extended in the future to engineer multiple probes within a single pore for concurrent detection of multiple targets at the single molecule level in real time.”

Written By Grace Rattue