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One of Nanobiosym's flagship nanotechnology platforms is based on Gene-RADAR(R), enabling for instance a mobile device to diagnose disease by detecting "molecular fingerprints" or DNA and RNA signatures from a drop of blood or saliva. Such Gene-RADAR technology based capabilities are poised to provide a quantum leap in developing countries in particular, where medical facilities are often crude and portability of equipment is extremely important. These devices would provide a way to make instant diagnoses, on the spot, in contrast to the current standard method of taking a blood sample and waiting days for the results to come back. The treatment can begin much sooner, with a much more accurate diagnosis. It could enable onsite detection of hazardous agents in bioterrorist attacks. Gene-RADAR also has potential for water testing, food, beverage, agricultural and biofuel applications.
Anita Goel (Hindi: अनीता गोयल) is a physicist and physician in the United States. She is globally recognized for her research at the nano-bio level, particularly for the study of molecular mechanics behind the reading and writing of information in DNA.
In 2005, Goel was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
Goel is the founder, Chairperson, and CEO of Nanobiosym, Inc. Her work at Nanobiosym has been recognized by a number of prestigious funding awards from the United States Department of Defense and DARPA, DTRA, AFOSR and US Department of Energy. The recipient of numerous honors, prestigious awards and an esteemed speaker at major international conferences, Goel has quickly emerged as a leading researcher and global thought leader in the new field of nanobiophysics and nanobiotechnology.
The method is revolutionary in several ways. First, a gold-standard blood test searching for a disease like HIV, for example, would normally cost $200 to $300. To complete the test, it would have to be shipped to a lab and patients would then need to wait two to three weeks to see their results. A test using Gene-RADAR costs only about $10 (or less, depending on where it’s used) and takes just an hour to identify a bug.
Taking a test like this away from a laboratory and putting it into the hands of doctors and the average Joe would do wonders for hospitals, small towns, and remote locations.
“You could go into a village with one of our devices and screen thousands of patients,” says Goel.
Second, the test is performed differently than the average quick-and-dirty diagnosis. Right now, methods for identifying viruses rely on looking at their cells. Individual viruses have different surface structures. Over time, viruses mutate, but not always on the surface, and that’s a big problem when it comes to preventing pandemics.
“Bird flu and swine flu were cousins of each other—the same family of viruses that mutated. Even if we have a drug to treat one, if you can’t detect it fast enough, it keeps changing and evades traditional detectors. The thing that changes every time it mutates is the DNA or RNA,” says Goel.
In other words, you can be looking at the surface structures of two diseases and thinking they’re the same disease.
This could be a game changer on so many levels. The third-world applications are obvious but closer to home this could be the technology that reigns in the cost of health care for everyone, potentially affecting the cost of insurance and treatment. The economic implications alone are huge, not to mention the lives that could be affected by the early detection of medical ailments. Very good news indeed.
This, in my opinion, is revolutionary advancement in the medical world.