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Techniques & Tools Clinical, Sample Preparation

Sub-Zero Substitute

In certain regions of the world, clinicians have limited (or no) ability to conduct analytical tests – but it’s not always because of a lack of equipment or personnel; sometimes, it’s down to the inability to implement a cold chain to transport samples. No matter how good the pathologist or technique, if a sample is not properly preserved, it may not be usable for testing – or worse, it may give false results (discover how worryingly widespread the problem is). A team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis decided to tackle the gap in sample preservation, by enlisting the help of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) (1).

“For the past few years, we have been working towards developing biodiagnostics for resource-limited settings,” says Srikanth Singamaneni, Associate Professor in the university’s School of Engineering. “As part of that effort, we have demonstrated the use of MOFs as protective encapsulants for preserving the functionality of antibodies conjugated to a biosensor surface. Following the successful completion of this work, we wondered if the technology could be used to protect protein biomarkers in the biospecimen, instead of antibodies on the sensor surface. And that led us to explore the use of MOFs for specimen preservation.”

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William Aryitey

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