Nanoparticles can be engineered to recognise a specific disease
In a process known as ‘biobarcode detection’, nanoparticles can be made containing antibodies that recognise a disease marker protein – a protein found only in a disease state, or at higher levels in a disease state.
When the protein is present in a sample, extraction of the magnetic particles also pulls out the gold nanoparticles. The DNA on the gold nanoparticle can be amplified, so very small amounts of protein can be detected. Potentially, nanoparticles with different antibody and DNA fragment combinations could be used to search for multiple disease marker proteins (hence the ‘biobarcode’).