Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Development of ultrasensitive diagnostic assays for the detection of genetic disorders, infections and for monitoring the therapeutic success following gene therapy

At present, the most widely employed diagnostic methodologies are based on antibody detection (RIA and ELISA).
In addition to the problems associated with radioactive materials these methods generally suffer from low specificity and sensitivity. Furthermore, they do not offer quantification. In recent years, nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) based systems employing PCR technology have been developed. Although these assays might be more sensitive than ELISA systems, the applications still suffer from draw backs such as i) high cost, ii) time consumption, iii) lack of flexibility, iv) lack of standardization, and v) lack of automation.The proposed assay system is innovative because it is based on a different concept in comparison to similar technologies. This is achieved partly by the implementation of fluorochrome labelled primers. Thereby, the sensitivity is markedly improved approaching quantitation of absolute numbers of copies in the samples. In addition, the system offers flexibility and the potential of automation. The assay is characterized by real-time monitoring and on line detection showing an extremely low detection limit of 10-100 initial DNA copies. A considerable advantage is that the core technology on the one side is based on fluorescence energy transfer (FRET) which is shareware, whereas on the other side the PCR technology is patented by Hoffmann La Roche. In addition, the assays are adapted to targets representing marked diseases for which the group of RTD partners has access to patient materials.The diagnostic tool to be developed offers excellent advantages and benefits over existing systems, as being i) low-priced,
ii) fast, iii) easy to use, iv) offering quick adaptation to gene mutations, and v) employing a core technology which can be used unrestricted.

Contact

Ralf R. TOENJES, (Section Head, Group Leader)
Tel.: +49-610-3775304
Fax: +49-610-3771255
E-mail
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