Microarrays Aim for Center Stage
This article was originally published in Start Up
Accepted in discovery, microarrays are paving the way for biomarker development and eventually, molecular diagnostics.
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Gold nanoparticles studded with oligonucleotides form the basis of Nanosphere Inc.'s molecular detection systems. The company claims its lead product can rapidly detect SNPs from a blood sample without PCR and with minimal preparation. Nanosphere has no intentions of entering the discovery arena or of collecting the kinds or volumes of data typical for high-density microarrays: it will develop assays only for clinically validated biomarkers.
Spectral Genomics Inc., aims to become one of the first, if not the first, to bring a diagnostic microarray through to FDA approval. Spectral belives its BAC clone arrays offer major advantages in detecting large scale chromosomal amplifications, deletions and rearrangements characteristic of cancers and many congenital defects. The speed and universality of the arrays make them potentially practical for low-cost, high-speed, and targeted diagnostic purposes.
Mid-stage clinical trial data rarely provide an easy answer on whether to advance a compound into complex and costly pivotal studies. Agilix Corp. has stepped into that void to offer gene expression analysis services using its GenCompass-a microarry-based expression profiling system that provides a rapid whole genome comparison between test and control subjects, providing data even about as yet uncharacterized genes.