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It took a team of researchers led by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to confirm the contaminant, a toxin structurally similar to heparin that was traced to a Chinese supplier. But detection of the impurity required "a tremendous effort by heavy hitters in the chemistry world," said Jason Dwyer, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island.
After nearly eight years of research, Dwyer has developed a simpler and quicker method for detecting the impurity in heparin, along with creating a process that could have wider benefits. His research was unveiled today in the online journal Nature Communications, part of the suite of journals from the publisher of Nature.
Tests - Impurity - Dwyer - Providence - RI
"There are tests that are much more sophisticated and expensive to detect the impurity," said Dwyer, of Providence, R.I. "What we were able to do is -- in a very inexpensive and rapid fashion -- fingerprint heparin and tell when there is a contaminant in it."
The research, "Surveying Silicon Nitride Nanopores for Glycomics and Heparin Quality Assurance," could also be used to analyze the entire class of molecules to which heparin belongs with broad use in biomedical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and environmental sensing. Dwyer's wider studies of sugars were bolstered in July by a $318,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
Example - Dwyer - Detection - Technique - Quality
For example, Dwyer said, the new detection technique could serve as a quality assurance tool across the pharmaceutical industry, especially with an increased push to develop more sugar-based drugs, such as heparin. "Sugars are incredibly important," said Dwyer, whose research in the past has garnered publication in the high-profile journals Nature and Science. "They're how bacteria communicate with each other. They're how we're going to be designing a lot of new drugs. So we need new tools to analyze sugars."
To develop the new detection technique, Dwyer turned to a sensing method...
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