• Benchtop Research Lowers Barrier to Clinical Translation

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Benchtop Research Lowers Barrier to Clinical Translation

Jan 04 2023

Scientists at the Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC) at Murdoch University have detected and quantified newly discovered biomarkers of SARS-CoV-2 acute infections and of ‘Long COVID’ using a benchtop Fourier Transform-nuclear magnetic resonance (FT-NMR) spectrometer with a permanent magnet, effectively  lowering clinical translation of this epidemiological and diagnostic research technology.

Under the direction of Professor Jeremy Nicholson, the research found that the unique signatures and quantification of the inflammatory biomarkers developed on a 600MHz Bruker Avance IVDr NMR system could be reproduced on the 80 MHz Bruker Fourier80 Benchtop FT-NMR spectrometer.

Combining benchtop NMR with high-field NMR enables clinical translation to extend the reach of this powerful technology to suit the differing clinical and research market needs.

The ANPC-Bruker collaboration used a sophisticated J-edited diffusional (JEDI) NMR experiment on the Fourier 80 to obtain quantitative signatures of two biomarker signals from N-acetylated glycoprotein (Glyc) and a novel supramolecular phospholipid composite (SPC) from phospholipids in lipoproteins. This was enhanced by a combination of relaxation, diffusion and J-editing properties of the JEDI experiment that attenuate contributions from other molecular species in plasma. This JEDI experiment also said to have demonstrated excellent discrimination of COVID-19 from control patients.

The novel Glyc/SPC ratio measurement has emerged as a useful molecular biomarker of inflammation in Long COVID, which could significantly improve current clinical and therapeutic understanding of the acute disease and of Long COVID.

Prof. Jeremy Nicholson, Director of the ANPC, commented: “Our major goal is to detect new disease signatures and translate them into the clinic. This involves developing innovative new technologies that will immediately benefit human health, whilst laying a platform for future scientific discoveries. Quickly and efficiently testing for informative biomarkers in large numbers of human blood samples, with easy-to-use instruments, is a major milestone, proving that NMR analysis could begin to play an important role in patient care. In the case of Long COVID, we need to measure, monitor and mitigate the disease process, and benchtop technologies will be an important part of delivering that translational mission at the population level.

“We believe these findings will facilitate work in samples from patients with SARS-CoV-2 acute infection and Long COVID using benchtop devices and we look forward to continuing our strategic partnership with Bruker into other disease areas.”

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