Technology ID

Modified Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs) for Detection of DNA or RNA and Identification of a Disease or Pathogen

Lead Inventor
Appella, Daniel (NIDDK)
Micklitsch, Christopher
Yemane (formerly Oquare), Bereket (ImClone Systems, Inc)
Zhao, Chao (NIDDK)
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Status
  • Prototype
  • In vitro data available
Lead IC
The NIH announces a novel method for fast, simple, and accurate detection of nucleic acids outside the modern laboratory. Nucleic acid testing is highly specific and often provides definitive identification of a disease or pathogen. Methods to detect nucleic acid sequences and identify a disease or pathogen are dominated by PCR, but applying PCR-based techniques in remote settings is challenging. Researchers at the NIH have developed a universal, colorimetric, nucleic acid-responsive diagnostic system that uses two short peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes and does not rely on PCR. The design of a cyclopentane-modified surface probe and a biotin-containing reporter probe allows excellent DNA and RNA detection. NIH researchers have specifically demonstrated this technology's suitability for early detection of HIV RNA or anthrax DNA.
Commercial Applications
  • Ultra-high sensitive detection of nucleic acids
  • Convenient, universal, colorimetric diagnostic tool
  • Can be used to detect any kind of infectious disease by simply changing the PNA sequences of the specific probe
  • Suitable for early detection of HIV, anthrax, tuberculosis, human papilloma virus (HPV), avian flu, E. coli, and more
Competitive Advantages
  • Eliminates requirement for PCR
  • Fast, simple method that can be used outside the laboratory
  • Modified PNAs provide resistance to degradation by enzymes and a high degree of stability to any diagnostic device
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