Toward a Diagnostic "Swiss Army Knife"

Researchers at York University in Toronto are refining a new bioanalytical technique capable of simultaneously analyzing hundreds or thousands of proteins in individual human cells.

Doug Payne
Nov 21, 2004
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Courtesy of Sergey Krylov

Researchers at York University in Toronto are refining a new bioanalytical technique capable of simultaneously analyzing hundreds or thousands of proteins in individual human cells. Sergey Krylov, Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry at the university, and his colleagues say they hope that kinetic capillary electrophoresis (KCE) will allow them to create what they've dubbed a diagnostic "Swiss Army Knife," eventually able to diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson, and Alzheimer. "It is very new, very sexy. We are integrating KCE with chemical cytometry, directly and indirectly," says Krylov.

Indirectly, Krylov uses the technique to select and characterize aptamers, which are DNA molecules that can fold to bind a protein or other analyte. Aptamers have both pure research and pharmaceutical applications. First, a randomized DNA library is mixed with the target and subjected to capillary electrophoresis. As the run proceeds, the mixture resolves into...

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