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Home > Press > Detecting meningococcal as good as gold

Dr Sapna Thoduka has developed a new diagnosis method for meningococcal disease.
Dr Sapna Thoduka has developed a new diagnosis method for meningococcal disease.

Abstract:
Research by an RMIT University PhD graduate has led to the development of a diagnosis method that uses gold nanoparticles to detect deadly meningococcal meningitis disease in its early stages

Detecting meningococcal as good as gold

Australia | Posted on January 12th, 2010

The method developed by Dr Sapna Thoduka uses a change in the colour of a gold nanoparticle solution to indicate the presence of meningococcal DNA.

The change in colour of the gold nanoparticle solution can be detected by the naked eye and the technique is being developed further for use in a point-of-care clinical setting, for the diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis.

"In the future, this will hopefully lead to more rapid detection of meningococcal disease and earlier treatment, which will ultimately result in fewer deaths and less severe complications," Dr Thoduka said.

Meningococcal meningitis is a disease that progresses rapidly and can cause death if left untreated. Even if treated, it can still lead to severe complications.

By diagnosing the disease early, it is possible to prevent death or severe complications by giving patients the most appropriate treatment.

"I was interested in pursuing this research because of the severe nature of this disease and its rapid onset, as well as the multidisciplinary aspect of the research," Dr Thoduka said.

"My research involved applying knowledge about the unusual physical properties of gold nanoparticles and chemical interactions between DNA and the gold nanoparticles, to develop a method for detecting specific DNA sequences."

For her research project, Dr Thoduka worked with Nanotechnology Victoria.

"I was fortunate that Nanotechnology Victoria was interested in my research," she said.

"I also hope that the detection method I've developed can be expanded to be used in the diagnosis of other diseases in the future."

####

About RMIT University
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is one of Australia’s original and leading educational institutions, producing some of Australia’s most employable graduates. As an innovative, global university of technology, with its heart in the city of Melbourne, RMIT has an international reputation for excellence in work-relevant education and high quality research, and engagement with the needs of industry and community.

With more than 60,000 students studying at RMIT campuses in Melbourne and regional Victoria, in Vietnam, online, by distance education, and at partner institutions throughout the world, the University is one of the largest in the country. It has built a worldwide reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education and research. A vibrant alumni community now stretches across more than 100 countries.

For more information, please click here

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