Maxim Biotech was once the leader in multiplex PCR. They have developed many products, including several infectious disease diagnostic products, such as HPV (for five different types), HIV, STD, and viral respiratory infections. Like Prodesse, Maxim Biotech does not have a unique multiplex PCR amplification method. Their detection platform of choice is gel electrophoresis.
They have no unique methodology for providing a solution to the problems associated with multiplex PCR. Instead, they used a trial-and-error approach to reduce the incompatibility among the primer sets, forcing the different primer sets to work under one amplification condition by adjusting primer lengths, sequences, and buffer conditions. Their detection method is the most traditional one: gel electrophoresis. Different gene products are identified by size. This method often causes laboratory contamination and produces false positives. It is also difficult to design multiple targets for compatibility in a multiplex reaction using this "trial-and-error" method. For example, in infectious diseases diagnosis the amplification primer selection is usually limited to short segments of DNA (or RNA). Outside these regions, the sequence may not be conserved enough, resulting in a reduced detection rate due to mispriming.
In general, there are many amplification and detection methods as well as platforms from which to choose. Of the available choices, PCR remains the most powerful amplification method, while hybridization is still the method of choice for easy detection. To obtain what we want (i.e., multiplexing that is specific, sensitive, simple, easily automated, and affordable), we must choose wisely. We can then integrate these systems to best serve clinical needs.
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