New diagnostic tests for future healthcare applications
We aim to provide better health care worldwide with a new generation of autonomous nanosensors that detect the onset of disease wherever needed. These nanosensors consist of nanoparticles that are actuated by biomolecular machinery. The special design of these medical diagnostic tools allows them to identify disease in one step with just a drop of blood or urine. Low levels of disease markers are easily seen by color changes. This is an improvement over conventional diagnostic tools in that the results can be easily interpreted by anyone without electronic readouts from expensive equipment. Our prototypes are inexpensive and can be used by anyone in any location.
The ability to detect molecules that indicate disease at the point of need, not just the point of care, has the potential to improve several key areas of health care. For example our nanosensors could be straightforwardly used in telemedicine. This would only require taking a picture of the result with a mobile phone and emailing or texting it to the practitioner.
Frequent tests performed with inexpensive autonomous nanosensors can help correct drug dosing in personalized therapies as well. Furthermore, rapid, easy-to-use medical tests are vital in the operation room or in emergency services, where it is crucial to obtain information about the health status of a patient almost immediately. The challenges are big, but the benefits are revolutionary.