A new technology has been devised for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Will it be effective?
FREMONT, CA: Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created magnetic beads coated with peptoid that can be utilized for detecting the existence of misfolded proteins in blood samples. Misfolded proteins are a factor in several diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It has been hard to detect these proteins to date in blood samples as they exist in very small numbers and are very much similar to their correctly folded cousins. The new beads bind to particular misfolded proteins in blood samples, making way for speedier and easy diagnosis of diseases that include misfolded proteins.
Until today, there has been no simple or a nominally invasive way for testing proteins associated with prion diseases. This is a big hurdle in diagnosis; however, ensure that donated blood is prion contamination free.
The researchers’ technique of testing for misfolded proteins in blood samples includes synthetic peptides, known as peptoids that are attached to magnetic beads.
The peptoid beads possess the ability to detect the misfolded proteins that can significantly affect the realm of prion diseases as infectious agents. However, they can seek out considerable aggregated proteins that are disease agents in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, among others.
By coating magnetic beads with peptoid that replicate the misfolded protein being identified, the beads bind to the protein when both are
present in a blood sample. The outcome is large protein aggregates. The aggregated misfolded protein possesses different hooks—various binding sites—that attaches to the bead. However, the natural, appropriately folded protein will have a single hook; therefore, its binding affinity is much less.
The misfolded proteins can be removed from the blood sample after they are bound to the beads by using a magnet. After that, they can be assessed for the misfolded proteins’ existence utilizing an essay. The process is convenient and quick and can transform the treatment and detection of misfolded protein-based diseases.
Apart from detecting asymptomatic disease carriers, the bead assay can also be optimized to screen blood and blood products in a fast and cheap manner, an ability which is very vital for preventing accidental transmission in the event of new prion disease breakout.
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