Amplifying Fluorescent Polymer Diagnostics for Respiratory Pathogens

Period of Performance: 02/20/2002 - 08/20/2002

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nomadics, Inc.
1024 S. Innovation Way
Stillwater, OK 74074
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Nomadics has demonstrated the tremendous amplification powers of a revolutionary polymer material developed at MIT. We have demonstrated the ability of a detection system based on the polymer to detect buried landmines with a sensitivity that is 1000 times greater or more than that of currently available explosives detection technologies. The polymer lends itself to functionalization for the detection of other compounds with similar amplification capabilities. Current research efforts are directed at exploiting this innovative technology for the detection of other types of chemicals, including organic compounds. We have demonstrated the capacity to detect DNA and similar biological constituents by making oligonucleotide conjugates with the polymer. In the proposed research, we suggest a method of structuring the polymer with aptamers to allow detection of a species unique lipopolysaccharide for the detection of Bordetella pertussis, the causative pathogen of whooping cough and other respiratory distresses. The proposed approach promises to lead to the development of a platform technology that will have widespread application in medical diagnosis and other pathogen detection activities. Additionally, the resulting system will be low-cost and simple to use, as well as rugged enough to use in deployed force situations and other field applications. As a means of detecting and identifying pathogens, the proposed technology will have extensive application in the fields of biological agent detection, food safety, and medical diagnosis. Because the system is inexpensive, it can be used by semi-skilled personnel in field operations, emergency responses, developing countries, and other situations.