This is essentially a highly specific molecular sensor based on cutting edge optical sensing technology. It is completely label-free, with ultrahigh sensitivity in the nanomolar to picomolar range. In addition, the detection response can be observed in real-time and the technology can be customized to detect different analytes in various applications. This technology allows for versatility in the type of analyte to be detected, which can include analytes not detected by existing techniques or those not detected by these techniques at the required sensitivity and specificity.
The current prototype is a compact benchtop system, with a built-in software for data acquisition and real-time data processing. A functionalized gold sensor chip is first inserted into the system, before introducing the sample containing the analyte of interest into the system. This in turn allows for specific binding of the analyte of interest to the chip surface, generating an optical signal which can be used to quantify the concentration of the analyte of interest in the sample. Current validation studies is on-going for microRNA detection for breast cancer diagnostic applications.
In comparison to existing techniques, this technology offers multiple competitive advantages at low cost as follows: