What if the need for cold storage was eliminated? A solution based on nanoparticle technology has been developed by scientists from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, OH.
In previous bio-diagnostic research, the Washington University team investigated gold nanorods, measuring changes in their optical properties to quantify protein concentrations in bio-fluids: the higher a concentration, the higher the likelihood of injury or disease.
In this new research, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) were grown around antibodies attached to gold nanorods. The crystalline MOFs formed a protective layer around the antibodies and prevented them from losing activity at elevated temperatures. The protective effect lasted for a week even when samples were stored at 60°C, and the protective MOF layer can be quickly and easily removed from the antibodies with a simple rinse of slightly acidic water, making a diagnostic strip or paper immediately ready to use (see video).
The researchers say this approach would allow point-of-care screening for biomarkers of diseases in urban and rural clinical settings where immediate patient follow-up is critical to treatment.