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Drivers of biodiagnostic development


The promise of point-of-care medical diagnostics — tests that can be carried out at the site of patient care — is enormous, bringing the benefits of fast and reliable testing and allowing rapid decisions on the course of treatment to be made. To this end, much innovation is occurring in technologies for use in biodiagnostic tests. Assays based on nanomaterials, for example, are now beginning to make the transition from the laboratory to the clinic. But the potential for such assays to become part of routine medical testing depends on many scientific factors, including sensitivity, selectivity and versatility, as well as technological, financial and policy factors.

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Figure 1: High-sensitivity detection can allow less invasive disease diagnosis: Alzheimer's disease example.


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We thank P. Patel for assistance with preparing Table 1. We also thank the US National Science Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health for research support.

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C.A.M. is one of the co-founders of Nanosphere (Northbrook, Illinois).

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Reprints and permission information is available at The authors declare competing financial interests: details accompany the full-text HTML version of the paper at Correspondence should be addressed to C.A.M. (

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Giljohann, D., Mirkin, C. Drivers of biodiagnostic development. Nature 462, 461–464 (2009).

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