Label-free Immunoassay-based Sensor Array for Assessment of Exposure to PAHs

Period of Performance: 08/01/2008 - 07/31/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) constitute a complex group formed from incomplete combustion of organic carbon and are found in significant amounts in automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, various foods, and industrial waste by-products. They represent serious, ubiquitously environmental contaminants. PAHs contamination of individuals occurs by inhalation, ingestion, or contact. Some PAHs are carcinogenic, teratogenic, and mutagenic. Biomonitoring is essential to make precise, quantitative measurements of personal exposure to environmental chemical/biological agents because it can provide an assessment of the integrated uptake through all exposure routes. Conventional biomonitoring methods are often complex, time-consuming, labor intensive, and expensive. Immunoassay is probably the most commonly used technology for the detection and quantification of biomolecules in the diagnosis and management of disease. Current trends in the development of immunoassay methodologies are miniaturization, multiple detection, and automation. On the other hand, nanotechnology has recently boomed because of the availability of new investigative tools. This technology makes it possible to characterize chemical and mechanical properties at a single molecular level, discover novel phenomena and processes, and provide science with a wide range of tools, materials, devices, and systems with unique characteristics. The aim of this project is to develop a novel multiple biological sensor combining immunoassay (antibodybased detection) and emerging nanotechnology (a nanoscale biosensor) to assess real time and continuous readout of internal exposure to priority environmental chemical agents, specifically to PAHs. In this innovative approach, the presence of targeted biomolecules in serum is monitored by specific antigen-antibody interaction at the nanoscale. Specific antigen-antibody interactions make this approach highly precise to identify specific antigens, such as biomarkers for PAH exposure, enabling accurate assessment of the exposure. Other advantages of this approach over conventional immunoassay techniques are (i) no other signal-generating moieties (labeling agents) are needed to measure the antigen-antibody interaction, (ii) multiplex assessment of informative and predictive serum biomarkers is possible, and (iii) wide range of applications. During the Phase I project, the proof-of-concept will be established, including the detection of antibody/antigen interactions in serum and in the presence of other biomarkers of other environmental exposure set. The proposed system has a high potential for user acceptance and has immediate commercial applications in many areas. Key segments in the medical diagnostic markets where the proposed technology can have an immediate impact include hospitals, clinics, clinical laboratories, medical insurance companies, and point-of-care uses.