Prized Science | Chad Mirkin: gold nanoparticles & the future of medical diagnostics
November 8, 2012
Chad Mirkin, Ph.D., the 2012 winner of the American Chemical Society’s Award for Creative Invention, is no stranger to the value of gold, but not in the traditional sense. Working in the nano scale, Mirkin uses gold particles to create promising new medical diagnostic tools that could lead to future cancer treatments and ways to track and treat diseases at earlier stages. Mirkin and his team discovered a method in which DNA strands are tacked onto the surface of gold nanoparticles creating spherical DNA structures that have exceptionally unique properties.
Unlike linear DNA, these structures can penetrate deep into cells, allowing them to flip genetic switches at the root of certain diseases or mutations. Mirkin is well known for his work on the Verigene System, which can provide patient diagnostics at the point of care. Instead of sending tests or samples out to labs — a potentially time consuming process — this tool can diagnose diseases on site at hospitals or in the doctor’s office. By improving the speed and accuracy of diagnostics, doctors able to treat diseases more quickly and effectively. Although Mirkin’s research focuses on incredibly small scales, the effects of his innovations in the field of medical diagnostics are massive.
Video Source: American Chemical Society