Recently, in a research report published in the international journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists from McGill University have developed a new technology that can detect hundreds of proteins in a single sample which is expected to be used as a fast, high-capacity and cost-effective tool for hospitals and research laboratories.
Proteins in the blood provide researchers and clinicians with vital information that indicates the health of the body. Meanwhile, these biomarkers also determine whether a patient’s chest pain is caused by a cardiovascular disease event or cancer. Unfortunately, despite more than 20,000 proteins in our body, the tools used to detect these proteins have not improved much over the past 50 years. And most of the current protein detection technologies can only target one protein.
In this new study, researchers developed a new technology that can detect hundreds of proteins in a single blood sample. Previously, researchers have developed a new and improved version of the microbead barcode technology using multicolor fluorescent dyes. By producing up to 500 different colored beads, the barcode platform can detect multiple markers in the sample, such as blue barcodes to detect markers 1 and red barcodes to detect markers 2 (and so on). The laser-based cell counter then counts proteins that adsorb on beads of different colors.
Although this analytical method has been developed for some time, however, interference between polychromatic dyes often limits the generation of correct colors. In this latest study, the researchers designed a new algorithm that enables beads of different colors to be produced with higher accuracy which is just like a color wheel can predict the result of color mixing. Researcher Juncker said that they hope to use the platform to improve the analysis of many different proteins in the later stages.
Previous technology can weigh the pros and cons between the amount of protein that can be measured, the cost of testing, and the accuracy, which means that in large-scale studies such as clinical trials, it may be underpowered because current technology often relies on a reliable platform with limited functionality. Finally, the researchers said that they will focus to maintain accurate detection of proteins in the later period by increasing the scale.
Milad Dagher, Michael Kleinman, Andy Ng, et al. Ensemble multicolour FRET model enables barcoding at extreme FRET levels. Nature Nanotechnology, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41565-018-0205-0