Portable nanofluidic aptamer-SERS instrument for measurement of chemical exposure

Period of Performance: 09/19/2012 - 08/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Biotex, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary The goal of this NIH-SBIR Phase I proposal is to develop a new point-of-care (POC) detection platform and methodology for assessment of human exposure to hazardous environmental compounds in the bloodstream. Because the mechanisms of transport of such chemicals into the body, their differing stabilities, and elimination are difficult to model, if possible, it is much more straightforward to assay for these compounds in the body rather than in the environment. The primary innovations in our approach are that a novel optical micro- to nano-fluidic device will be used along with unique aptamers and Raman reporter molecules to simultaneously measure several classes of compounds in a multiplexed fashion. The opto-fluidic device is an extremely sensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) nanochannel cartridge that was invented at Texas A&M University by professors Jun Kameoka and Gerard Cot. The aptamer functionalization chemistry as well as the overall integrated product will be developed at BioTex, Inc. The device being developed provides signal enhancements equal to or exceeding 1014 at the entrance to the nanochannel, enabling rapid quantification of femtomolar or smaller levels of targets in fluids. This SERS-based nanofluidic platform has been demonstrated through several publications and so the key question that need to be addressed by the company are can the aptamer chemistry perform as intended in progressively complex media including whole blood with this platform and can the platform be optimized for this application. Thus, the specific aims of this research are to develop the aptamer assay for specifically detecting model polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), bisphenol-A (BPA), and model phthalates. The resonant-SERS reporting and nanofluidic concentrator employed have the potential to provide orders-of-magnitude improved sensitivity over standard fluorescence and without the complicated multistep tasks of ELISA or full analytical chemistry analysis such as chromatography and mass spectrometry. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Project Narrative The goal of this research is to develop a new point-of-care (POC) detection platform and methodology for assessment of biological exposure to harmful chemical compounds. With the potential to greatly improve the sensitivity and ease of such measurements, the end-product of this research is expected to have considerable impact allowing toxicologists, environmental health professionals, and clinicians the ability to correlate the effects of toxic chemicals to disease states.