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New probes and optical spectroscopies for immune parasitological applications

Alexander, J. and Graham, D. (2006) New probes and optical spectroscopies for immune parasitological applications. Parasite Immunology, 28 (6). pp. 236-237. ISSN 0141-9838

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Abstract

The advent of monoclonal antibody technology in the 1970s heralded a massive expansion in immunological research and provided the tools linked to optical spectroscopies to rapidly and accurately diagnose disease, localize targets, phenotype cells, deplete cell populations, purify cell populations, and quantify physiological and immunological mediators. However, there is always a demand for the development of new ultra sensitive, ultra specific, and more flexible high throughput technologies. This requires either utilizing more refined and powerful probes than monoclonal antibodies to bind to targets, or using new more sensitive optical spectroscopies to localize and quantify readouts from the signals generated following binding, or a combination of both of these factors. Aptamers (= to fit), first described in 1990 (1,2) as a substitute for antibodies, may be the ideal tools to fulfil the first requirement. However, their use in immunoparasitological systems remains limited and awaits further exploitation.