Nanodiagnostics: A new frontier for clinical laboratory medicine

Hassan M.E. Azzazy, Mai M.H. Mansour, Steven C. Kazmierczak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Background: The use of nanotechnologies for diagnostic applications shows great promise to meet the rigorous demands of the clinical laboratory for sensitivity and cost-effectiveness. New nanodiagnostic tools include quantum dots (QDs), gold nanoparticles, and cantilevers. QDs, which are the most promising nanostractures for diagnostic applications, are semiconductor nanocrystals characterized by high photostability, single-wavelength excitation, and size-tunable emission. QDs and magnetic nanoparticles can be used for barcoding of specific analytes. Gold and magnetic nanoparticles are key components of the bio-barcode assay, which has been proposed as a future alternative to the PCR. Methods: We examined articles published over the past 10 years investigating the use of QDs, gold nanoparticles, cantilevers, and other nanotechnologies in promising diagnostic applications. Results: Several nanodiagnostic assays have been developed, including a QD-based assay capable of detecting biodnylated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) at 0.38 ng/L, a bio-barcode assay capable of detecting 30 amol/L PSA in a 10 μL sample, and another able to detect 50 molecules of the Alzheimer marker amyloid β-derived diffusible ligand in 10 μL of cerebrospinal fluid. Conclusions: Nanodiagnostics promise increased sensitivity, multiplexing capabilities, and reduced cost for many diagnostic applications as well as intracellular imaging. Further work is needed to fully optimize these diagnostic nanotechnologies for clinical laboratory setting and to address the potential health and environmental risks related to QDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1246
Number of pages9
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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