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Can Multiplex Gene Expression Analysis Go Faster? Whole Blood from HemaCare Helped Show That it Can

May 25, 2015 1:00:33 PM / by Maria

Researchers use novel technology that skips the RNA isolation step. Whole blood provided by HemaCare was important in demonstrating the approach.

Much of the progress in biological research these days is nothing short of breathtaking. However, there is one thing scientists haven’t figured out what to do: Make more hours in the day. So while experimenters have sought to make processes more powerful, precise, and specific, they have also seen the benefit of making them faster, as well.

whole blood What is more valuable than time? Experimenters found a way to skip the RNA isolation step in multiplex gene expression analysis, using whole blood from HemaCare as part of their research. Image credit:

Multiplex gene expression analysis -- examining the expression of several genes at once – has undergone impressive technological advances, promising to improve diagnosing diseases at the genetic level and predicting therapeutic outcomes. For example, analyzing gene signatures can be helpful in differentiating between two types of leukemia. Because time is always precious, researchers, health practitioners, and patients would all appreciate efforts to accelerate these projects.

Traditionally, it has been necessary to perform an RNA isolation step before gene expression could be analyzed. DxTerity Diagnostics developed a new method to allow researchers to skip this step.[1] First, the inventors used a special buffer they prepared to stabilize RNA. Then, they employed two types of probe. One type binds to RNA of interest and is tailored so that magnets can “pull down” the RNA from the solution it was in. The other type of probes also binds to the RNA and serves as a template from which the gene can be amplified.

To put their approach to the test, the researchers looked at the changes of 7 radiation-responsive genes. For that, they needed whole blood. HemaCare supplied whole blood from healthy human donors. The blood was then irradiated, and those 7 genes were monitored for expression changes using the new technology. The experimenters found that the measurements of changes in gene signal after radiation closely matched measurements made with a more traditional method.

The researchers noted the time advantage of their technique. Their assay required a total hands-on time of 1 hour. In contrast, the authors reported needing 4 hours using an established process; 3 of those hours were spent extracting RNA from the blood.

HemaCare is proud to have supplied whole blood and praises time-saving advances in the flourishing field of multiplex gene expression analysis. We will always have the time to work with you and your research needs.


1. Chang HK et al. Analysis Directly from Whole Blood Samples Stabilized at Ambient Temperature Using an RNA-Stabilizing Buffer J Mol Diagn 2015;17(2):118-127.


Topics: Assay Development, Cancer, Whole Blood, Basic Research


Written by Maria

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