An assay to detect and quantify novel patterns of microRNA expression


The field of genomics is expanding rapidly and in particular, interest in the small RNA molecules termed 'microRNAs' has grown at a stupendous rate since their discovery several years ago. Considerable attention is being focussed upon their potential as biomarkers and therapeutic targets. the existing methods to measure microRNAs using RT-PCR, microarrays or sequencing each have specific limitations. There is an urgent requirement for a method with improved sensitivity of microRNA detection, both as a diagnostic and discovery tool, in for example, cancer or blood-based assays.

The aim of this project is to refine and validate a new approach we have developed for detecting mircoRNAs. this will both overcome existing shortfalls and provide novel microRNA data. the advantages of PCR and sequencing are combined with additional proprietary steps to provide extremely high sensitivity a nd detailed information. The outcomes of the project will be a functional prototype to present to potential commercial partners, data validating the performance of the assay in relevant samples and IP to protect the proprietary steps in the assay.

The project will focus upon development of a kit to fill a gap in the huge international microRNA research and diagnostic field. However, this technology can also be applied to discover microRNA- based biomarkers which will have additional inherent IP.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Claire Armstrong
The Queen's University of Belfast
02890 97 3884
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