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Rapid Biomarker Discovery and Translation: RNA Applications in Focus

RNA, recognized as an important tool for many years in delivering genetic information is a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of disease and a powerful tool providing dynamic insights into regulatory processes. One major challenge is to prevent the degradation of RNA, as RNA is unstable in whole blood. 

“As transcriptomic changes in blood outside the patient body occur within minutes after blood collection, stabilization of the original RNA profile is crucial for reliable and reproducible gene expression analysis,” says Kalle Guenther, Associate Director, R&D Blood Samples, PreAnalytiX.

The system, comprised of a blood collection tube and kit for extraction of total RNA, provides standardized methods from blood collection to isolation and purification of total RNA. When used according to ISO 20186-1, the system helps to standardize the steps for venous whole blood cellular RNA examination in what is referred to as the pre-examination phase as part of the entire workflow from specimen collection to the cellular RNA examination.

With stabilized RNA there are many different downstream technologies to facilitate the quantification of RNA expression levels and detect novel transcripts; one of this is COVID related. 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the clear need to develop RNA-based vaccines and expand our knowledge into RNA therapeutics. The PAXgene Blood RNA system can help understand disease progression and research on whole-blood transcriptomic host response to SARS-CoV-2 and other viral infections in comparison to healthy volunteers.

To achieve reliable and reproducible results, isolation of high quality, stable intracellular RNA is imperative. There has, however, been many challenges associated with improving stability, preventing degradation and delivery of RNA in treatment. 

RNA Innovation Across Different Technologies

Downstream applications of intracellular RNA from whole blood include RT-PCR, dPCR, sequencing and microarray analysis to help accelerate our knowledge in the field. Reliable blood collection, choice of optimal blood collection tube, and purification technology could lead to streamlined sample handling with minimal preanalytical variability and interference in downstream assays. Many researchers have used different chemistries, sequencing technologies and interpretation tools to ensure meaningful results from their samples. Below is a summary of some third party publications that investigate downstream applications of intracellular RNA.

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