QDs have demonstrated extensive potential in biomedical applications owing to the combination of their unique photophysical properties and the ability to render them biocompatible and specific by conjugation to various biomolecules. Their use is underway in various immunological and molecular assays for different pathogens and biomarkers, in multiple strategies. For the clinical laboratory, QDs represent attractive tools for ultrasensitive multiplexed diagnostics. Additionally, the combined utilization of QDs with their unique optical properties and microfluidics would aid the development of miniaturized sensitive bioanalysis systems and aid efforts towards their use for point-of-care testing, which would allow the movement of testing processes closer to patients in remote locations with limited infrastructure and decrease reliance on central laboratories. Also, point-of-care testing would support field testing in disease outbreak areas. Commercial availability of various types of QDs is substantially increasing and a large body of successful studies of clinical utility has already built up. These factors are highly conducive and indicative of a more significant role of QDs in the future of bioanalysis. Although their promising future for in vivo imaging is clouded by toxicity concerns, which are actively being addressed, the next decade in clinical laboratory medicine could likely see a noticeable advancement in the use of QDs.
Nanomedicine. 2012;7(11):1755-1769. © 2012 Future Medicine Ltd.