Molecular diagnostics

Molecular diagnostics is a collection of techniques used to analyse biological markers in the genome and proteome—the individual's genetic code and how their cells express their genes as proteins—by applying molecular biology to medical testing. The technique is used to diagnose and monitor disease, detect risk, and decide which therapies will work best for individual patients.

By analysing the specifics of the patient and their disease, molecular diagnostics offers the prospect of personalised medicine.

These tests are useful in a range of medical specialisms, including infectious disease, oncology, human leukocyte antigen typing (which investigates and predicts immune function), coagulation, and pharmacogenomics—the genetic prediction of which drugs will work best.(v-vii) They overlap with clinical chemistry (medical tests on bodily fluids).

  • Bringing artificial enzymes closer to nature

    Representation of the new-to-nature olefin metathesis reaction in E. coli using a ruthenium-based artificial metalloenzyme to produce novel high added-value chemicals.

    Scientists at the University of Basel, ETH Zurich, and NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering have developed an artificial metalloenzyme that catalyses a reaction inside of cells without equivalent in nature. This could be a prime example for creating new non-natural metabolic pathways inside living cells, as reported today in Nature.

  • Selective manipulation of enzyme can stop cancer cachexia

    Healthy fat tissue is essential for extended survival in the event of tumor-induced wasting syndrome (cachexia). In Nature Medicine, researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München show that selective manipulation of an enzyme can stop unwanted metabolic processes.

  • Successfully Treating Genetically Determined Autoimmune Enteritis

    Poor to moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma of the stomach. H&E stain.

    Using targeted immunotherapy, doctors have succeeded in curing a type of autoimmune enteritis caused by a recently discovered genetic mutation. This report comes from researchers at the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel. Their results raise new possibilities for the management of diarrhea, which is often a side effect of melanoma treatment. Immunodeficiencies can arise due to gene mutations in immune system proteins. As such mutations rarely occur, these immunodeficiencies often go unrecognized or are detected too late for effective treatment. Currently, there are more than 300 different known genetically determined immunodeficiencies, with new examples being described almost every week.

  • Virtual Reality in Medicine: New Opportunities for Diagnostics and Surgical Planning

    With SpectoVive, doctors can interact in a three-dimensional space with a part of the body that requires surgery. Screenshot: University of Basel

    Before an operation, surgeons have to obtain the most precise image possible of the anatomical structures of the part of the body undergoing surgery. University of Basel researchers have now developed a technology that uses computed tomography data to generate a three-dimensional image in real time for use in a virtual environment. The planning of a surgical procedure is an essential part of successful treatment. To determine how best to carry out procedures and where to make an incision, surgeons need to obtain as realistic an image as possible of anatomical structures such as bones, blood vessels, and tissues.

  • Von Hefezellen lernen: Neue Ansätze für die Therapie von Parkinson

    Gesunde Hefezellen (o.) u. kranke Hefezellen mit Ansammlungen von α-Synuklein-Aggregaten (grün). Mitochondrien (rot) liegen in kranken Z. stark fragmentiert vor, wenn der protektive Faktor  Yhb1 fehlt Quelle: Braus / CNMPB

    Göttinger Wissenschaftler des Exzellenzclusters CNMPB der Universitätsmedizin Göttingen gewinnen neue Einsichten in die Pathologie von Morbus Parkinson. Veröffentlicht in der Fachzeitschrift PLOS GENETICS.