Navigation Links
Texas Biomed reports faster, more economical method for detecting bioterror threats

Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists in San Antonio have developed a faster, less expensive route to screen suitable tests for bioterror threats and accelerate the application of countermeasures.

The new process screens for pairs of affinity reagents molecular magnets that bind to and hold on to their targets, be they toxins, viruses or bacteria. That will enable countermeasures to be selected and utilized much faster than the current practice.

"Using crude extracts from E. coli, the workhorse bacterium of the biotechnology laboratory, the new route bypasses the need for purification and complex equipment, enabling screening to be performed in under an hour," said Andrew Hayhurst, Ph.D., a Texas Biomed virologist.

Normally, he said, such screening requires sophisticated costly equipment to purify and analyze the affinity reagents. Such analysis becomes a huge burden when hundreds of reagents need to be checked and can take weeks to months.

The process funded primarily by Texas Biomed and the San Antonio Area Foundation, and in part by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was described online in the November 5, 2012 issue of Nature Publishing Group's Scientific Reports.

"We need an inexpensive route to screen libraries of affinity reagents. It had to be simple and self-contained as we eventually needed it to work in the space-suit lab or hot zone," said Hayhurst.

His surprisingly simple scheme allows scientists to make stop-gap tests to any given biological threat in a matter of days, with the screening step completed in an hour. The goal now is to speed up the entire process to work within a single day.

Hayhurst initially developed the pipeline using llama antibodies as the affinity reagents to botulinum neurotoxins, known as the world's most poisonous poisons 100 billion times more toxic than cyanide and handled in a specialized biosafety cabinet at biosafety level 2. Satisfied that the system was working, he then took it into the biosafety level 4 laboratory with his assistant, Laura Jo Sherwood, and they generated a stop-gap test for Ebolavirus Zaire in days. This virus has been shown to be 95 percent lethal in outbreak settings and with no vaccine or therapeutic it is a risk to the U.S. through importation. Botulinum neurotoxins and Ebolavirus are among a handful of threats now categorized as Tier 1 agents, presenting the greatest risk of deliberate misuse with the most significant potential for mass casualties or devastating effects to the economy, critical infrastructure; or public confidence.

"Being able to respond quickly to known biological threats will better prepare us for combating emerging and engineered threats of the future," Hayhurst said. "However, the great thing about this test pipeline is that it can be applied to almost any target of interest, including markers of diseases like cancer."

Texas Biomed has applied for a patent on the process. It potentially could be licensed to companies for developing diagnostics to specific medical conditions, tests for environmental monitoring, or to accelerate in-house research programs.


Contact: Joseph Carey
Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Related biology news :

1. SMU professor Louis Jacobs honored with prestigious award from Texas science teachers
2. EyeLock Inc. Brings High-Tech Iris Biometric Production to Texas
3. Newly discovered letters and translated German ode expand Texas link to infamous Bone Wars
4. Controlling gait of horses may be possible, says key study from Texas A&M
5. BP Biofuels, Texas AgriLife Research sign agreement to advance biofuel feedstock development
6. NSBRI renews space life sciences graduate programs at MIT, Texas A&M
7. University of Texas Medical Branch selected to manage Center for Polar Medical Operations
8. Mining cleanup benefits from Texas A&M expertise
9. Diet of early human relative Australopithecus shows surprises, says Texas A&M researcher
10. University of North Texas Health Science Center Advances Forensic Research by Investing in Semiconductor DNA Sequencing Technology
11. NASA satellite measurements imply Texas wind farm impact on surface temperature
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... YORK , Nov. 19, 2015  Although some ... market is dominated by a few companies, according to ... companies own 51% of the market share of the ... The World Market for Molecular Diagnostic s ... "The market is still controlled by one company ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Vigilant,s Board after recently retiring from the partnership at ... owning 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  ... performance improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   Growing need ... analytical tools has been paving the way for ... determination of discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, ... being predominantly used in medical applications, however, their ... sectors due to continuous emphasis on improving product ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Program that includes over 2,000 technical presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, ... and applied spectroscopy, covers a wide range of applications such as, but not ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ANNAPOLIS, Md. , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, ... of Directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights ... its net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 ... --> --> PharmAthene,s use of its ... an "ownership change" as defined in Section 382 of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... QUEBEC CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), affirms that its business and prospects remain ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB ... program to completion following review of the final ... met Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest ... market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations ... higher volume share for the region in the ... margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market earned ...
Breaking Biology Technology: