Speedier diagnosis of diseases such as cancer likely thanks to new DNA analysis technique


Dr. Rob Sladek of the McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre was part of Pr. Sabrina Leslie’s team from McGill University who developed a breakthrough technique for massive parallel genomic analysis of long DNA molecules. This technical breakthrough should result in speedier diagnosis of cancer and various pre-natal conditions. 

The key discovery, which is described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), lies in a new tool developed by Professors Sabrina Leslie and Walter Reisner of McGill’s Physics Department and their collaborator Dr. Rob Sladek of the Génome Québec Innovation Centre. It allows researchers to load long strands of DNA into a tunable nanoscale imaging chamber in ways that maintain their structural identity and under conditions that are similar to those found in the human body.

This newly developed “Convex Lens-Induced Confinement” (CLIC) will permit researchers to rapidly map large genomes while at the same time clearly identifying specific gene sequences from single cells with single-molecule resolution, a process that is critical to diagnosing diseases like cancer.

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