Scientists from the University of Illinois have developed photonic crystal biosensors that would contribute a great deal to drug development, by detecting DNA-protein interactions. The physical setup of the biosensors include a low RI (refractive index) polymer grating that has an outer film coating of high RI Titanium Oxide. Above the film sits a standard microplate with 384 wells. Essentially, each well will have a biosensor at its base and will act like a test tube where DNA-protein reactions are studied.
Watch This: An integral part of drug development is identifying how DNA molecules and a protein matter interact. The process helps scientists to determine which compounds act as a deterrent to the binding process, since separating these compounds would lead to better drug effectiveness. With the help of the crystal, scientists can examine the reflection of light from its surface, thereby judging which molecule has been “added or removed from it.” This breakthrough will help in developing drugs for ailments like cancer, wherein the interaction of cancer cells and the drug can be studied on the crystal surface.
Word around the Web:
Brian Cunningham from Spie says:
“Exploiting the unique properties of mass-producible photonic crystals could lead to more efficient and accurate biological assays.”