A landmark installation for U.S. Genomics' Single Molecule Analyzer.
By Kevin Davies
December 15, 2004 | U.S. Genomics has placed the first of its Trilogy Single Molecule Analyzers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. The machine will be installed in the Life Sciences Technology Laboratory, one of three new labs at the Personalized Medicine Research Center of Mount Sinai's Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine.
Erwin Bottinger, the department's vice chair for research, says he anticipates finding "a whole range of applications" for Trilogy, including quantitative RNA and micro-RNA analysis, genotyping, quantification of proteins, and protein modifications. "We're interested in developing quantitative assays for the phosphorylation state of proteins," he says.
The Trilogy platform ingeniously unwinds DNA or RNA molecules, enabling them to pass linearly across a laser detector. Once heralded as a breakthrough technology en route to the "$1,000 genome," U.S. Genomics currently prefers to emphasize the technology's assay applications in the field of single-molecule biology.
Bottinger expects that Trilogy experiments "would follow on a number of leads in microarray screens, in experimental samples and patient samples, to see how the quantitative analysis relates to phenotypic outcomes."
The "critical issue" of reliable, quantitative analysis "will be very important in the future," Bottinger predicts. One of the potential benefits of Trilogy, he says, is that "there's no amplification step between readout and sample. Both real-time PCR and microarrays have amplification steps, and/or the readout is a mathematical extraction of a fluorescent signal, so it's not directly quantitative. That raises a significant limitation in terms of developing candidates for prognostic assays."
Bottinger says his group's experiences will be shared with U.S. Genomics. The Woburn, Mass., company expects to announce further Trilogy installations next year.