Advantages Of Nanotechnology To Biomarkers

Nanotechnology refers to the fabrication, manipulation, use, and study of phenomena of materials with at least one dimension in the nanoscale (<100 nm). The recent revolution in nanotechnology will benefit a large diversity of applications, including many consumer products, engineering, information technology, and medicine. When applied to biomarker science, nanotechnology will influence how we utilize current biomarkers and enable the discovery and development of many more new biomarkers.

Major challenges facing the detection of biomarkers that are being addressed with nanotechnology approaches include multiplexing ability, specificity, rapid or real-lime detection, label-lree detection, determination of early therapy response, small sample sizes, and portability. Additionally, nanodevices are likely to be suitable for reliable scale-up and massive parallelization at low cost by utilizing processes similar to those employed in the electronics industry - 1,2] . A further potential asset of nanotechnology is the detection of bio-marker density and distribution, particularly in cases where biomarker concentration and not the biomarker itself is specific to a pathologic condition. Recent developments in genetics and proteomics have produced a large number of biomarkers [3-5], increasing dramatically the potential applications

Biomarkers in Drug Development: A Handbook of Practice, Application, and Strategy, Edited by Michael R. Bleavins, Claudio Carini, Malle Jurima-Romet, and Ramin Rahbari Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

of biomarkers. However, for the potential of these recent developments to be realized, better biomarker detection systems must be engineered, and since multiple biomarkers are of particular interest in complex diseases such as cancer where single biomarker detection is insufficient [6], the detection systems must have multiplexing ability.

In this chapter we review nanoparticles and nanodevices currently being developed for the enhanced detection of biomarkers and focus on the diversity of applications to biomarker research. Specific methods of detection system fabrication are not discussed despite many exciting recent discoveries, but descriptions may be found in the relevant referenced material. Following this review is a discussion of nanotoxicology issues and other challenges that nano-technology will present to the biomarker field.

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