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What it takes to automate an assay?

The answer: (1) start with a simple assay that really works; (2) finish it by a great engineer team. There were several multiplex attempts out there, but non become successful commercial product. The reason: the assay they try to automate usually has too many enzymatic steps, and includes too many...

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Multiplexed assays have greater clinical sensitivity

There are two kinds of sensitivities: analytical sensitivity, and clinical sensitivity. Analytical sensitivity is all about copy numbers: How many copies would your test need to give a positive result? The more sensitive an assay is, the less copy it will require to yield a positive result. Clinical sensitivity is...

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Reinventing PCR: Who?

Why us? why we were the lucky ones that developed the new multiplex PCR strategies? The Polymerase Chain Reaction was invented more than 20 years ago, the inventor, Kary Mullis, won Nobel Price in 1993. I believe that the reason why so many people failed to make multiplexing work is...

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Reinventing PCR: How?

To solve the three problems mentioned before, we came up with this multiplex PCR strategy called tem-PCR (for target enriched multiplex PCR). We use at least two pairs of nested primers for each amplification target, so if there is 10 targets we want to amplify together (multiplex), there will be...

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Reinventing PCR: What?

What are the challenges for developing multiplex PCR assays? The three major difficulties are: incompatibility, high background, and poor reproducibility. The first problem (incompatibility) makes assay development very difficult; the second problem (high background) makes automation very difficult; and the third problem (poor reproducibility) makes regulatory approval very difficult. These...

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Reinventing PCR: Why?

Why PCR need to be reinvented? Because it can not multiplex, of course! (Or should we learn from Clinton and say, “it is the multiplexing, stupid!”) When PCR was invented some 20 years ago, it can only amplify  one target at a time. And it remain so for so many...

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