Nano-QuIC (Nanoparticle-enhanced Quaking-Induced Conversion)

A new diagnostic technique has been developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota called Nano-QuIC (Nanoparticle-enhanced Quaking-Induced Conversion) that promises faster and more accurate detection of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and chronic wasting disease in animals. These diseases share a common feature, which is the buildup of misfolded proteins in the central nervous system, and detecting these misfolded proteins is crucial for understanding and diagnosing these disorders.

Limitations of Existing Diagnostic Methods

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunohistochemistry are the current diagnostic methods for these diseases, but they can be expensive, time-consuming, and limiting in terms of antibody specificity.

How Nano-QuIC Improves upon Existing Techniques

Nano-QuIC improves upon the NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories’ Real-Time Quaking-Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) assay. The RT-QuIC method involves shaking a mixture of normal proteins with a small amount of misfolded protein, triggering a chain reaction that causes the proteins to multiply and allowing for the detection of these irregular proteins. By incorporating 50-nanometer silica nanoparticles into RT-QuIC experiments, the detection times can be reduced significantly from around 14 hours to just four hours. Additionally, the sensitivity can be increased tenfold.

Benefits of Faster and More Accurate Detection

The quicker and highly accurate detection method provided by Nano-QuIC is particularly important for understanding and controlling the transmission of CWD, which is spreading in deer across North America, Scandinavia, and South Korea. The new method also benefits research as it will improve next-generation tests, making them more sensitive and accessible.




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