Molecules in the human body can be imagined as a landscape — A landscape that needs to mapped and understood so that medicine can reach its purpose. Engineered DNA nanotechnology is one of the instruments to investigate the molecular landscape. And it requires constant development.
This is what PengYin’s lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute has done for the last year by using a new method to spot rare molecules. The technique is called SABER, and it means Signal Amplification by Exchange Reaction.
About Signal Amplification by Exchange Reaction (SABER)
It amplifies the signal of labeled molecules so they can be spotted. Molecules can be tuff headed. For one, they are too tiny, and they have hieratic behavior. In a sample of tissue, they can be either too many and also likely at the same time, so the differences between them are too hard to be observed. Or, they can be infrequent, thus hard or impossible to catch.
SABER attaches customized DNA templates to the molecule. It also adds fluorescent probes for the molecules that tend to be isolated, so they refuse to signal their presence at the usual methods of detection. And if the examined tissue is a thick one, good luck with catching the expert on hide-and-seek!
SABER doesn’t do molecules only. It can also handle protein, and this technique is named immuno-SABER. It doubles the number of labeled proteins from the same sample the immuno-florescence did so far.
SABER Overcomes The Limitation Of Molecular And Protein Identification In Tissue Samples
SABER and immune-SABER are cheap and work at fast speeds doing twice as much work the conventional methods used to. It is a real evolution for molecular biology, thus helping advance basic biology, biomarker discovery, and clinical diagnostics.
“SABER could be useful for matching patients with optimal treatments based on the spatial pattern of protein markers. For example, for cancer, the tumor microenvironment can be characterized by the spatial expression pattern of the protein markers, which could inform immunotherapy treatment,” PengYin said.