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A hot road to new drugs
Date:2/24/2010

ted is mixed with a blood sample containing a target that is known to be associated with a disease state and has been labelled with a fluorescent tag. A tiny drop of the mixture is taken up into a thin glass capillary tube, and a focused beam of IR-laser light is used to heat a small volume of the solution in the middle of the tube. This gives rise to a temperature gradient that falls off towards the outside. The response of the labelled molecule to the variation in temperature can then be followed using fluorescence methods.

Upon heating of the sample, it immediately becomes apparent whether or not the fluorescent target-molecules in the sample behave differently in the presence of the drug test compound than they do in its absence. Any difference in thermophoresis between the two samples indicates that the test substance binds to the labelled target, and provides the first hint that it may have therapeutic potential. "Our method will not only be a boon to drug discovery", says Braun. "It can also be used in medical diagnostics, food testing and environmental monitoring. One could, for instance, employ it to diagnose autoimmune diseases and infections, or as the basis for a rapid test for the presence of antibiotics in milk or toxic substances in water." (NIM/suwe)


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Contact: Prof. Dieter Braun
49-892-180-2317
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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