Enhancing Clinical Diagnostics with Smart Nanostructures

Using smart nanostructures in clinical diagnostics is a joint project between us and IQS nano. IQS nano is a company developing smart technologies which are used in diverse fields such as lighting, biomedical devices or microchips. We believe that this collaboration is a huge step towards routine point-of-care diagnostics. Smart ready-to-use devices might be used for self-examination of a patient at home and might complement and partially replace sophisticated but stressful and expensive examinations at specialized diagnostic labs.

In collaboration with the company Affipro, which specializes in mass spectrometry technology, we have initiated the development of a 3-D printed single-use device called sample target plate. It looks like a credit card with small wells for placement of a single drop of an analyte. They are currently used for the method called Microbe MALDI Biotyping, which is applied in clinical microbiology for the identification of pathogens without the need for time-consuming microbial growth in expensive selective media. Using nanotechnologies developed at IQS nano, we have already prepared new prototypes of these target plates, which exhibit good performance for MALDI Biotyping. They may represent a cost-effective and versatile alternative compared to the currently available equipment produced by traditional technologies. In the next step, we are aiming to develop smart target plates coated with biosensors which can detect disease biomarkers (e.g. for sepsis, kidney diseases or Alzheimer disease).

The ultimate goal of these collaborative efforts is to develop a LAB-ON-CHIP device, to be used in routine diagnostics. We are developing a diagnostic micro-device based on passive chips equipped with nanofluidic structures for automated sample pretreatment, analyte detection, and result visualization. Such lab-on-chip tests can be performed anywhere—even in field conditions—with simple handling and without the need for complicated instrumentation. Analysis will be easy and cheap and providing fast and simple readout. Applications are in principle diverse, such as diagnosis of myocardial infarction or infectious diseases.

The new technology is being developed by GeneSpector Innovations, an R&D spin-off company of Charles University focused on further development and clinical application of promising academic technologies in the field of laboratory diagnostics and therapy.

January 18, 2023, written by Aleš Hnízda

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