Quantum Dots Let Researchers Identify and Quantify a Person’s Risk of Getting Cancer

Feb. 3, 2010
Quantum dots let researchers identify and quantify a person’s risk of getting cancer.
Johns Hopkins University, www.jhu.edu

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed a test that uses quantum dots to find DNA attachments which are early warning signs of cancer. The test detects the presence and quantity of DNA changes, harbingers of cancer risk.

The test looks for DNA strands containing an abnormal methyl group by first converting strands with a methyl group into customized nucleotide strands. The strands are then combined with quantum dots, crystals of semiconductor material that measure only a few nanometers across. The dots are coated with a chemical that is attracted to the new strands. In experiments, up to 60 custom strands attached themselves to a single quantum dot. When a UV light or blue laser shines on this mixture, the dots off-load that energy — quantum dots have the inherent ability to easily and quickly transfer energy — to a particular molecule in each strand. The additional energy makes these molecules fluoresce, so researchers can identify and count them using a spectrophotometer. Researchers say because genetic markers for specific cancers differ, the test can be tweaked to look for different types of cancer. The test could be commercially available within five years, according to the scientists.

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!