Polymer Amplified Nucleic Acid Detection

Period of Performance: 07/01/2002 - 06/30/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Realizing important advances in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer depends in large part on the sensitivity, simplicity and cost of detecting specific nucleic acid sequences. Nomadics proposes to adapt amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP) technology to nucleic acid detection. AFPs are an innovative and important new class of polymers that amplify optical signatures resulting from fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) or fluorescence quenching events. Combining this inherent signal amplification with the unique specificity exhibited by nucleic acid hybridization events will enable a new generation of solid-state, nucleic acid sensors that do not rely on target amplification or catalyzed reporter deposition. The specific aims of the proposed effort are to: 1) optimize transduction (FRET or quenching) between nucleic acid functionalized AFP films and target nucleic acid sequences via hybridization, 2) quantify the sensitivity and selectivity of AFP-based systems, and 3) fabricate and evaluate various prototype devices/formats. Overall, the goal is to establish the utility of AFP technology towards the detection of nucleic acid sequences and lay the groundwork for a Phase II program aimed at exploiting amplification in novel detection formats. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Nucleic acid detection plays a pivotal role in biological research, drug development and, increasingly, diagnosis. By offering improvements in sensitivity, amplifying fluorescent polymer (AFP) technology will enable the development of simple, rapid low-cost nucleic acid detection systems. These will find immediate use in the laboratory (i.e., microarray platforms, gene expression analysis, etc.) with the ultimate goal being the development of molecular diagnostic devices.