Researchers developed a system based on nanotechnology that could detect smallest contaminants in heparin.
Heparin, a popular blood thinner carried a contaminant which eluded security verification and quality safeguards in the pharmaceutical industry back in 2008, killing around 100 people in the U.S.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration led the research with a team of scientists to confirm the contaminant. The detected impurity was structurally similar to heparin and was traced to a Chinese supplier.
Jason Dwyer, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, worked to find a simpler and quicker method for detecting the impurity in heparin, besides developing a method that could have wider benefits. The research was published online in the journal Nature Communications, titled “Surveying Silicon Nitride Nanopores for Glycomics and Heparin Quality Assurance,” from the publisher of Nature, on August 17, 2018.
Earlier expensive and sophisticated tests were available, to detect contaminants in heparin, however Dwyer’s process is much inexpensive and simple. The study could also be used to examine heparin molecules along with its whole class and wide-ranging use in biomedical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and environmental sensing.
The new detection technique equipped with a sensing method consisting of a hole, or nanopore, 1/1000 times the thickness of a human hair, examined single molecules at the slightest detectable level.
The researchers aims to make detection of the impurity quicker, down to minutes and seconds. Furthermore, the device will have to undergo some transitions to be adapted for a commercial user who may lack the expertise of a researcher in a technology development lab. Additionally, the system should show accuracy in all kinds of environment.