Fast and reliable diagnosis of infectious diseases

Fast and reliable diagnosis of infectious diseases

mandag 02 jan 17

Biosensors

A biosensor is an analytical device that provides the user with rapid, accurate and valuable information about a specific target in a sample. The biosensor converts a biological response into a measurable signal that is processed for interpretation.

A biosensor consists of several components: A bioreceptor (biorecognition element), a transducer, an amplifier and a signal processing system for signal analysis. The biorecognition element of the detector identifies and binds target molecules. This biorecognition event results in a stimulus that is converted by the transducer into an output signal, which will be processed by the signal processing system where the signal is displayed for interpretation. The biorecognition elements of the detector can be different biological components e.g. aptamers, antibodies, enzymes, etc. Likewise, the transducer can be based on different principles e.g. electrochemical detection, optical methods, piezoelectric sensing etc.

Today, biosensor applications have expanded and are now used in many different fields of our society e.g. in medicine, food and water safety, public safety, environmental monitoring etc.
A new type of medical diagnostics is being developed at DTU Nanotech and realised in the spinout company, Flusens ApS. The diagnostic device is based on an all-plastic biosensor with electrical readout, which gives diagnostic results within few minutes in quantitative, digitalised form for family doctors or for bedside applications.

Epidemics from infectious diseases can result in high levels of worker absenteeism and productivity losses. Clinics and hospitals can suffer from a substantial increase in workload, when large numbers of sick people appear for treatment during peak illness periods. Controlling and fighting the infections cost billions of Euros.

A better diagnosis would enable primary care physicians to start the appropriate patient treatment and preventive measurements for the benefit of patients and society. The measurements would also hinder the spreading of the infection, and would reduce the overprescribing of antibiotics in inappropriate cases.

Diagnosing infections
The fast, inexpensive and reliable diagnosis of acute infectious diseases, however, remains an unsolved problem. The only fully reliable detection method  today is the laboratory based qPCR (real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction) test, which is expensive, and time- and lab intensive. Including shipping of the patient samples, a typical test takes several days and costs about € 130-240/test, therefore the diagnostic role of this method is very limited in primary care.

Flusens provides a novel, easy to handle and inexpensive sensor technology for the detection of pathogens or their biomarkers in body fluids with electrical readout in a Point of Care setup. The inventor of the technology, Noemi Rozlosnik (formerly associate professor at DTU Nanotech), says that “our device provides a quantitative result of the test within a few minutes and covers a wide range of different pathogens and contrary to other Point of Care tests, our technology is capable of selective and accurate testing of a number of pathogens simultaneously”. With the Flusens technology the measured data are available in a digital format, which can be integrated into the existing data management systems.

Figure 2: Automatical vision system for quality assessment: Flusens works with state-of-the-art equipment, which ensures that the out-coming products are reliable and of the highest quality.
Figure 2: Automatical vision system for quality assessment: Flusens works with state-of-the-art equipment, which ensures that the out-coming products are reliable and of the highest quality.

Funding and investment
The team behind the technology has attracted funding from a private investor in 2015.  From this investment Flusens has built up its own laboratories and a pilot production line. Noemi Rozlosnik explains: “In our production line, all equipment is available for the advanced biosensor chip production, including also a strict quality control and traceability, which are requirements for medical devices”.  

The company consists of a team with the necessary complementary competencies. The managing director (Michael Døssing) is an expert in plastic technologies and industrial process development; the scientific director (Noemi Rozlosnik) is the inventor of the technology, and responsible for innovative advancement.The other team members are responsible for hardware/software development, quality management, micro- and molecular biology, marketing, customer relations: All of them with the relevant educational background.

The preclinical testing of the diagnostic device will start in early 2017, in collaboration with a leading university hospital in Denmark.

Read more at Flusens.com.

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