Detecting biomarkers with microdroplet technology

Trends Mol Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):405-16. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 22.


The efficient analysis and noninvasive detection of molecules such as DNA, mRNA, and miRNA for clinical diagnostics requires sensitive, high-throughput methods. By segregating individual sequences within separate compartments, digital procedures allow identification of very rare sequences. These procedures are based on the limiting dilution of biological samples in individual compartments such as droplets of a water-in-oil emulsion, and relies on the discrete counting of a given event, providing an absolute value and quantitative data. Coupled with microfluidic systems, digital procedures could become an essential diagnostic tool for the study of diseases as well as patient management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Biomarkers