Super-Sensitive Bead-Barcoded Digital Quantifiers of Molecular Species

Northeastern University Background
A problem plaguing health in society today is a need for rapid tools for accurate diagnosis of disease. Early signs of cancers, infections, and other diseases are typically accompanied by molecular indicators called biomarkers, that are often too low in abundance to quantify using conventional techniques.
Protein biomarkers are difficult to diagnose because they cannot be directly copied to produce multiple copies, and techniques such as ELISA have their limitations in terms of detection limits.
Technology Overview
This invention utilizes the process of fabricating solid-state nanopore devices that exhibit ultimate sensitivity and selectivity for single molecules.
This technology proposes the development of a multiplexed digital detection platform for molecular species in solution based on a single-molecule immunochemistry on color-barcoded beads.
Beads that capture molecular species from a complex sample using selective aptamers exposed to a test sample (serum). After cleanup, the captured molecular species are tagged using second affinity probes (e.g., antibodies, aptamers) that are linked to photocleavable nucleic acid particles.
The beads are then introduced to the counter system which comprises a microcavity/nanopore device. Once a bead is captured by the micropore, reporter nucleic acid nanoparticles (rNANPs) are released using photocleavage and detected by the nanopore. Each electrical spike uniquely produced by the nucleic acid nanoparticle counted as a single molecular species, and the total count represents the overall number of molecular species in the sample.

Can be used to detect various molecular species at the same time
Can display real-time counting data as the detection takes place
Compact and multiplex


Early cancer detection
Detection of neonatal diseases


Research Collaboration

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