Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Diagnostic Genomics and Proteomics
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 24, 2003
Publication Date: December 1, 2004
Citation: Higgins, J.A. 2004. Handheld nucleic acid analyzer. Encyclopedia of Diagnostic Genomics and Proteomics. pp. 560-564.
The widespread use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for
molecular-biology based detection of pathogens has revolutionized
clinical diagnostics. However, the thermal cycler instruments
responsible for performing PCR assays remain heavy and unsuitable for use in the field or for point-of-care diagnosis. Consequently, a
number of US government-sponsored projects have sought to reduce the
size of PCR instrumentation to a handheld format. One of the
prototype instruments derived from this program is the handheld
advanced nucleic acid analyzer (HANAA), which is now commercially
available as the "BioSeeq" device from Smiths Detection (Edgewood,
Maryland). Another promising handheld PCR instrument is the "Razor"
fabricated by Idaho Technology, Inc (Salt Lake City, Utah) which is
designed for rapid detection of threat agents. A newer platform, the
Verigene, is designed by Nanosphere (Northbrook, Illinois) and is
commercially available for point-of-care diagnostics. Projects are
ongoing in a number of private companies for the further development
and commercial release of handheld nucleic acid analyzers, that
promise to significantly advance diagnosis and detection of pathogens.