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Special sugar, nanoparticles combine to detect cholera toxin
Date:2/16/2011

findings appear online today in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bc100442q). The National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health funded the research.

The findings may give the Federal Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several other agencies additional screening tools to combat toxins. The UCF-developed technique is faster than current detection methods, and it would likely be less expensive because these nanoparticles are cheap to make in large quantities. The detection instruments are compact in some cases the size of a desktop computer and a handheld calculator, and they could be turned into mobile devices that relief workers or food screeners could use in the field.

"As we have seen in the 2010 outbreak in Haiti, cholera remains a serious threat," said Janna Wehrle, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health, who oversees Dr. Perez's and other grants that focus on protein structures and interactions. "By developing a fast and sensitive test for cholera toxin that does not require sophisticated equipment or refrigeration, Drs. Perez and Teter have provided health care workers with a potentially valuable tool for use in areas struck by natural disasters or with inadequate infrastructure. The possibility that the novel chemistry discovered by these investigators might also be useful for treating cholera is especially exciting."

Studies that are under way may confirm early indications that dextran can be an effective drug for patients infected with cholera, added UCF Associate Professor Kenneth Teter, a co-author on the study. This could be especially beneficial in developing countries such as Haiti, as dextran is a relatively inexpensive compound to produce.

Additionally, both dextran and iron oxide are commonly used in other medical applications. Dextr
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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zkotala@mail.ucf.edu
407-823-6120
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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