An early disease-specific laboratory diagnosis plays an increasingly important role in modern medicine. Immunoassays (e.g. ELISA) based on antigen-antibody reactions are traditionally used to detect numerous proteins and antigens. However, these methods have a limited sensitivity, so that there is a risk of false negative results, especially with very small amounts of material to be detected. Immuno-PCR, developed in 1992, uses marker DNA instead of the enzymatic conversion of a substrate. This marker DNA can then be amplified exponentially via PCR. Using Immuno-PCR, a 10–100,000-fold improvement in sensitivity compared to conventional ELISA can be obtained!
Keywords: molecular biology, immunology, laboratory diagnostics, antigen detection, sensitivity