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New inexpensive and fast bedside diagnostic tools

Gone are the days when boffins had to wait for days and part with hefty bucks for multiplexed detection of biomolecules. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) chemists have come up with a cheaper and high-throughput method by using multifunctional particles. The new particle contains a barcoded ID and one or more probe regions which would turn fluorescent when it detects targets in a test sample. It may also prove handy in drug discovery or genetic profiling, researchers feel. The single-probe encoded particles used in the multiplexed analysis were loaded with DNA oligomer probes. Providing some clus on the new diagnostic tools, researchers explained, As two streams of monomers (liquid precursors loaded with fluorescent dye or molecular probe) flow side by side through a microfluidic device, ultraviolet light repeatedly strikes the streams. A chemical reaction initiated by the light causes the liquid to solidify, forming a single particle with two distinct ends. Each particle takes on the shape of a “mask” (similar to a transparency film) through which the UV light is aimed. One end of each particle is a fluorescent “dot-pattern” barcode that reveals what the target molecule of the particle is, and the other end is loaded with a probe and only turns fluorescent if the target molecule is present. The particles can also be designed to each test for multiple targets, by adding several unique regions.