Single-Molecule Measurements In Microwells For Clinical Applications
CRITICAL REVIEWS IN CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCES
Wu C, Maley AM and Walt DR.
Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences. 2019:1-21.
The ability to detect and analyze proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules is critical for clinical diagnostics and for understanding the underlying mechanisms of disease. Current detection methods in clinical and research laboratories rely upon bulk measurement techniques such as immunoassays, polymerase chain reaction, and mass spectrometry to detect these biomarkers. However, many potentially useful protein or nucleic acid biomarkers in blood, saliva, or other biofluids exist at concentrations well below the detection limits of current methods, necessitating the development of more sensitive technologies. Single-molecule measurements are poised to address this challenge, vastly improving sensitivity for detecting low abundance biomarkers and rare events within a population. Microwell arrays have emerged as a powerful tool for single-molecule measurements, enabling ultrasensitive detection of disease-relevant biomolecules in easily accessible biofluids. This review discusses the development, fundamentals, and clinical applications of microwell-based single-molecule methods, as well as challenges and future directions for translating these methods to the clinic.