The assignee for this patent, patent number 8524060, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to gel electrophoretic immunoassay, and more specifically to on-chip electrokinetic methods for performing immunoassays. These immunoassays are fast (minutes) and require very small amounts of sample (less than a few microliters). Use of microfabricated chips as a platform for the immunoassays enables integration, parallel assays, automation and development of portable devices.
"There is a great demand for methods and devices for rapid detection of molecules of interest in applications such as medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, biological defense and pharmaceutical research. For example, in medical diagnostics, detection and quantitation of biomarkers (proteins indicative of a disease state) in bodily fluids form the basis of diagnosis and treatment of many diseases such as cancer and HIV. Immunoassays are one of the most widely used and sensitive techniques for detection and quantitation of analytes such as viruses, peptides, polynucleotides, proteins such as toxins, antibodies, and cytokines, and other small molecules. Immunoassays are based on specific recognition and binding of a biological ligand to another molecule, the prominent example being binding of an 'receptor' molecule to an analyte such as an antigen, where the receptor molecule may be any species having a specific binding affinity for another species. Reporter molecules may include but are not limited to polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies; a Fab, F(ab') 2, scFV, or small chain fragment; a peptide or a peptide nucleic acid; an aptamer; lectin; one or more small ligands; an antigen; an enzyme; an oligonucleotide; a deoxyribonucleic acid; a ribonucleic acid; biotin; and cellular receptor binding proteins. The generality of immunoassays steins from the fact that most analytes implicated in disease progression are either antigens or antibodies or are molecules against which an antibody can be generated by utilizing the immune system of a host animal. Typically either the antibody or the antigen, or in many cases a secondary antibody, is labeled with a signal-generating molecule, or 'reporter' molecule, such as a fluorescent molecule, a chemiluminescent molecule, an enzyme, a quantum dot, biotin, or a spin-label, to transduce the binding event into a measurable signal.
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