Target biomarkers are often found at low levels (e.g., attomolar to picomolar scale) in the early stages of disease. Current biosensor technologies are limited by their ability to simply and precisely detect target biomarkers at very low concentrations though. Typical biomedical samples, like blood or urine, can also compromise the specificity and sensitivity of common diagnostic platforms without extensive sample processing to remove background contaminants.
A UC Santa Cruz researcher has developed a diagnostic platform that uses a two-particle biomarker-to-bead conversion process coupled to a flow-through microfluidic nanohole array. Magnetic and dielectric beads are functionalized with target-specific receptors. The functionalized beads form a complex with the target such that one dielectric bead binds one molecule of the target. Unbound dielectric beads are removed by retaining bound complexes using a magnet. Then the complexes are disassociated such that only the dielectric beads remain. Because the remaining dielectric beads are each associated with a target molecule, one need only count the beads to assay the number of molecules in the original sample. The beads are passed through a microfluidic nanohole array that physically captures the beads; when beads are present, the charge balance of the nanoarray changes. This technology enables quantitative measurements down to the pico and femtoscale and beyond.
Point of care diagnostics
Field research of viruses and other infectious agents
Detection of environmental contaminants
Simple to use
Easily adaptable to any marker
Adaptable to a wide variety of readouts
Can detect at picomolar, femtomolar, and attomolar concentrations
Biosensor, Diagnostic platform, Biomolecules, Environmental contaminant detection, Point of care, Infectious disease, Femtomolar, Picomolar, Attomolar