Disease biomarkers in blood are important diagnostic indicators and are currently analysed in specialised laboratories by expensive and time-consuming procedures (assay duration spanning several hours). These procedures are unsuitable for rapid detection of biomarkers in point of need settings, as a response to life threatening situations where early detection of blood biomarkers is vital, such as in the risk of sepsis and septic shock. Therefore, early diagnosis based on blood biomarkers requires new sensing tools.
As a response to this challenge, MarkerSense aims to develop a novel point-of-care (POC) sensing system for fast and sensitive detection of specific disease biomarkers in whole blood samples, enabling early diagnostics. MarkerSense is based on a ground-breaking proprietary surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology recently developed by the project Coordinator to be coupled to a smartphone.
The MarkerSense system will simultaneously perform both reflectivity and phase angle resolved assays, with a highly improved signal-to-noise ratio and a resolution of at least 10-8 RIU, in a portable POC format. MarkerSense will be tested on site to rapidly detect (in a few minutes) low concentrations of biomarkers (e.g. proteins) in a small volume of whole blood (~100 μl). As a proof of concept, pancreatic stone protein and soluble CD25 protein will be detected in whole blood as specific biomarkers of sepsis.
After testing and validation in clinical trials, the POC device is envisaged to be used for rapid diagnosis of sepsis biomarkers in point of needs in hospitals (emergency departments). Moreover, the developed technology could open a window of hope for the economically disadvantaged countries and low-resource environments, where most of the population does not have access to hospitals or clinical laboratories.