The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Background
Early diagnosis of cancer, when the disease is easiest to treat, is vital for long-term survival in patients. However, detecting and treating cancer is extremely difficult and complicated. Individual types of cancer present themselves differently at the molecular level, so there are various molecular markers depending on the type of tissue and cancer. These markers of disease in a patient are referred to as biomarkers and can be a variety of molecular footprints such as alteration in DNA, overexpression of a protein and more. The technologies that are currently available for early detection are extremely expensive and are also unable to cover this vastness of biomarkers. With the invention of the nanopore platform and nanopore-based sensing technology, a wide range of single molecules such as DNA, RNA, polymers and more are able to be detected in one procedure as they pass through the nanopore.
Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles (NANPs) combined with nanopore sensing technology are used to detect a variety of biomarkers in order to diagnose diseases such as cancer. NANPs are nanoparticles that are composed of multiple RNA or DNA molecules. The technology consists of a NANP kit that contains a population of NANPs that are each individually designed to be able to target and detect a particular biomarker of disease. This “pool” of individual NANPs is mixed with a sample of biomarkers, the mixture is then passed through material containing nanopores by an ionic current. The NANPs are designed to have a distinct electric profile that can be detected as they pass through the nanopore, therefore detecting the unique biomarker attached. In its entirety, this invention allows for the detection of diverse biomarkers in a single sample as well as concentration of the biomarkers.
Technology Status: Proof of concept testing has been completed in a laboratory environment present.
Variety of NANP populations for multiplexed detection of biomarkers from a single sample
Two biomarker target sequences on each NANP allow for more accurate detection
Due to size uniformity and biocompatibility, NANPs are expected to outperform their metal and polymeric nanoparticle counterparts previously used for biosensing
Medical and health diagnostics
UNC Charlotte is looking for a commercial partner to bring this technology to market. Exclusive patent license available with flexible and favorable terms.