Capillary nano-immunoassays: advancing quantitative proteomics analysis, biomarker assessment, and molecular diagnostics

J Transl Med. 2015 Jun 6;13:182. doi: 10.1186/s12967-015-0537-6.


There is an emerging demand for the use of molecular profiling to facilitate biomarker identification and development, and to stratify patients for more efficient treatment decisions with reduced adverse effects. In the past decade, great strides have been made to advance genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to address these demands. While there has been much progress with these large scale approaches, profiling at the protein level still faces challenges due to limitations in clinical sample size, poor reproducibility, unreliable quantitation, and lack of assay robustness. A novel automated capillary nano-immunoassay (CNIA) technology has been developed. This technology offers precise and accurate measurement of proteins and their post-translational modifications using either charge-based or size-based separation formats. The system not only uses ultralow nanogram levels of protein but also allows multi-analyte analysis using a parallel single-analyte format for increased sensitivity and specificity. The high sensitivity and excellent reproducibility of this technology make it particularly powerful for analysis of clinical samples. Furthermore, the system can distinguish and detect specific protein post-translational modifications that conventional Western blot and other immunoassays cannot easily capture. This review will summarize and evaluate the latest progress to optimize the CNIA system for comprehensive, quantitative protein and signaling event characterization. It will also discuss how the technology has been successfully applied in both discovery research and clinical studies, for signaling pathway dissection, proteomic biomarker assessment, targeted treatment evaluation and quantitative proteomic analysis. Lastly, a comparison of this novel system with other conventional immuno-assay platforms is performed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Pathology, Molecular / methods*
  • Proteomics / methods*


  • Biomarkers