Researchers led by Brown University's Anubhav Tripathi present their simple method for amplifying, and detecting, RNA targets, or SMART, in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. SMART relies on mirofluidics and a modified nucleic acid sequence-based amplification approach. Using a synthetic influenza target, Tripathi and his team demonstrated that the SMART assay could capture its target. "This platform is clinically relevant, given that the probes presented were based on sequences shown to hybridize to full-length influenza A H5 vRNA," the researchers write. "Additionally, because of the flexibility of the amplifiable probe sequence, this method can easily be used for detection of any number of RNA targets."
Also in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, George Yousef from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and his colleagues report that miR-21 can be used to tell clear cell and papillary renal cell carcinoma apart from chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and oncocytoma. Using real-time quantitative RT-PCR with miR-21-specific probes, Yousef and his colleagues examined miR-21 expression in subtypes of renal cell carcinoma as well as in healthy kidneys. "Our results show that miR-21 is up-regulated in clear cell and papillary subtypes of RCC compared with healthy kidney and benign renal tumors," the authors say, later adding that miR-21 is also a prognostic marker in renal cell carcinoma.