Modified Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs) for Detection of DNA or RNA and Identification of a Disease or Pathogen

The NIH announces a novel method for fast, simple, and accurate detection of nucleic acids outside the modern laboratory. Nucleic acid testing is highly specific and often provides definitive identification of a disease or pathogen. Methods to detect nucleic acid sequences and identify a disease or pathogen are dominated by PCR, but applying PCR-based techniques in remote settings is challenging. Researchers at the NIH have developed a universal, colorimetric, nucleic acid-responsive diagnostic system that uses two short peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes and does not rely on PCR. The design of a cyclopentane-modified surface probe and a biotin-containing reporter probe allows excellent DNA and RNA detection. NIH researchers have specifically demonstrated this technology's suitability for early detection of HIV RNA or anthrax DNA.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Ultra-high sensitive detection of nucleic acids
  • Convenient, universal, colorimetric diagnostic tool
  • Can be used to detect any kind of infectious disease by simply changing the PNA sequences of the specific probe
  • Suitable for early detection of HIV, anthrax, tuberculosis, human papilloma virus (HPV), avian flu, E. coli, and more
  • Eliminates requirement for PCR
  • Fast, simple method that can be used outside the laboratory
  • Modified PNAs provide resistance to degradation by enzymes and a high degree of stability to any diagnostic device

Development Stage:
  • Prototype
  • In vitro data available


Daniel Appella (NIDDK)  ➽ more inventions...

Christopher Micklitsch (NIDDK)  ➽ more inventions...

Bereket Oquare (NIDDK)  ➽ more inventions...

Chao Zhao (NIDDK)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: 10,457,978 issued 2019-10-29
PCT Application No. PCT/US2013/055252 filed on 2013-08-16
US Application No. 14/421,732 filed on 2015-02-13

Micklitsch CM, et al. PMID 23214925

Collaboration Opportunity:

The NIDDK is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize Modified Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs) for Detection of DNA or RNA. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Marguerite Miller at or 301-496-9003.

Licensing Contact:
Vladimir Knezevic, M.D.
Phone: 301.443.5560

OTT Reference No: E-260-2012-0
Updated: Mar 16, 2017