Sensitivity and poor signalto noise ratios two

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Unformatted text preview: s is also attracting the attention of industry leaders, such as Guidant (Indianapolis, IN, USA) and Medtronic (Minneapolis, MN, USA). This is because nanoscale architecture can be used to enhance integration of artificial structures and living tissue, presenting a more size-appropriate interface to biological systems. Most of these devices are still to nanotechnology to solve these problems. Nanosys has developed a nanomaterial (nanowire) to serve as a substrate for microarrays of DNA and proteins. According to Stephen Empedocles, Nanosys director of business development, the nanowire morphology (Fig. 5) provides a 100-fold higher binding area without reducing binding kinetics. Although other surfaces that increase binding capacity, and hence sensitivity, often exhibit considerably slower binding reactions, Empedocles claims this is not the case with nanowires. Nanosys’s nanomaterial could be used to create arrays of any dimension, including at the nanoscale, but the company is fashioning its first product to be compatible with today’s microarray platforms. The substrate can be mounted on conventional microscope slides, used with existing fluorescent assay chemistries and scanned using standard array readers. Nanosys will start alpha testing its system later this month. BioTrove (Woburn, MA, USA) has taken a different approach to the sensitivity problem with microarrays, one that also does not require new or specialized equipment. The company has created a plate with over 24,000 one-nanoliter reaction chambers in which miniaturized PCR amplifications—the ‘gold standard’ according to company president and CEO Cloin Brenan, for increasing sensitivity in genomic experiments—can be carried out. With conventional technology, the cost of conducting thousands of PCR reactions could be prohibitive, but with BioTrove’s platform (the ‘LivingChip’), reaction volumes are 200 times smaller than in microplate screening systems, making PCR an affordable option, according to Brenan. The chip is designed to work with ordinary thermal cyclers and scanning devices. The company is set to release its first product, a SNP Chip that will be preloaded with PCR primers and assay buffers for 3072 reactions, to be released in the third quarter of 2004. LD years away from clinical trials, however. Companies developing such systems include iMEDD (Columbus, OH, USA), which is etching nanopores into implantable drugdelivery devices for controlled release of therapeutics. Elsewhere, collaborative programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Agency Ames Research Center (Moffet Field, CA, USA) and Stanford University (Stanford, CA, USA) are attempting to incorporate nanoporous electrodes into retinal implants to enable a functional interface with the nerves of the retina. In addition, companies such as Cymbet (Elk River, MN, USA) and NanoGram Devices (Fremont, CA, USA) are working on nanostructured materials that can manufacture their own electrical power. Table 4...
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