Detection and Diagnostics, Technology and Market

Tech Corner – A Technology Overview from IQT Portfolio Company Quanterix

In-Q-Tel, Inc. / IQT Quarterly Winter 2016

Medical laboratory analysis is moving steadily and quickly into molecular biology, in which tests can assess health based on DNA sequence, or on changes in the amount of certain proteins in blood. There are tests currently available to detect the levels of over 100 different proteins in human blood, changes in which have been correlated with changes in health or disease. Nearly all of these tests are called immunoassays because they rely on the use of immune system proteins called antibodies as the essential ingredient in the test.

Antibodies have the property of binding tightly to a specific molecular target (and only that target), giving immunoassay tests the specificity required to detect target proteins in a sea of proteins.

The most commonly used immunoassay is called ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay), which is used by medical labs and researchers to detect specific proteins of interest in liquid samples. The human genome encodes about 25,000 proteins. Of these proteins, no more than 10 percent are in sufficient concentration to be reliably measured with conventional ELISA. What clinical insights lie within the other 90 percent? Quanterix’s revolutionary Simoa technology unlocks a world of insight into disease detection, diagnosis, and patient treatment while meeting the demands of today’s laboratory.

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