The Healthy Promise of Biochips

January 23, 2004 | Source: BusinessWeek Online

Tracking the human genome was just the beginning. Now, biochips can be used to study many genetic aspects of a disease — and possibly a cure.

In a typical experiment, a drug researcher places a sample of diseased tissue that has been tagged with a fluorescent dye onto a gene-laden chip. A scanner then reads the chip, and if the DNA in the sample matches any of the genes on the chip, that part of the chip lights up. Matches that occur over and over provide invaluable clues about the role of that specific gene in cancer, AIDs, and other diseases.