Cancer Detection at your Fingertips: Smartphone-Enabled DNA Testing

This is Biological Dynamic's first publication about the use of Biological Dynamics ACE-based isolation platform for point-of-care applications.

Turner R, Madsen J, Herrera P, Wallace J, Madrigal J, Hinestrosa JP, Dobrovolskaia I, Krishnan R, "Cancer Detection at your Fingertips: Smartphone-Enabled DNA Testing" paper presented to 40th International Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference in in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 21, 2018.

ABSTRACT: High molecular weight cell-free DNA (hmw cfDNA) found in biological fluid, such as blood, is a promising biomarker for cancer detection. Due to the abundance of background apoptotic cell-free DNA in blood, quantifying the native concentration of hmw cfDNA using existing methods is technically challenging, time-consuming, and expensive.

We have developed a novel technology which utilizes Alternating Current Electrokinetics (ACE) to isolate hmw cfDNA directly from blood. Furthermore, we integrated this technology into a handheld device which utilizes a smartphone for power, instruction transmission, optical detection, image processing, and data transmission. The detection of hmw cfDNA in blood plasma demonstrated the performance of the device. We are continuing development of this device as a future point of care in vitro diagnostic. 


Integrated Analysis of Exosomal Protein Biomarkers on Alternating Current Electrokinetic Chips Enables Rapid Detection of Pancreatic Cancer in Patient Blood

In this article, the authors used Biological Dynamic ACE technology to screen whole blood and plasma samples from pancreatic cancer patients for the presence of both the exosome-associated protein CD63 and glypican-1 (GPC-1).

 Lewis JM, Vyas AD, Qiu Y, Messer KS, White R, Heller MJ. ACS Nano. 2018 Mar 28. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b08199.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) typically has nonspecific symptoms and is often found too late to treat. Because diagnosis of PDAC involves complex, invasive, and expensive procedures, screening populations at increased risk will depend on developing rapid, sensitive, specific, and cost-effective tests. Exosomes, which are nanoscale vesicles shed into blood from tumors, have come into focus as valuable entities for noninvasive liquid biopsy diagnostics. However, rapid capture and analysis of exosomes with their protein and other biomarkers have proven difficult. Here, we present a simple method integrating capture and analysis of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles directly from whole blood, plasma, or serum onto an AC electrokinetic microarray chip. In this process, no pretreatment or dilution of sample is required, nor is it necessary to use capture antibodies or other affinity techniques. Subsequent on-chip immunofluorescence analysis permits specific identification and quantification of target biomarkers within as little as 30 min total time. In this initial validation study, the biomarkers glypican-1 and CD63 were found to reflect the presence of PDAC and thus were used to develop a bivariate model for detecting PDAC. Twenty PDAC patient samples could be distinguished from 11 healthy subjects with 99% sensitivity and 82% specificity. In a smaller group of colon cancer patient samples, elevated glypican-1 was observed for metastatic but not for nonmetastatic disease. The speed and simplicity of ACE exosome capture and on-chip biomarker detection, combined with the ability to use whole blood, will enable seamless "sample-to-answer" liquid biopsy screening and improve early stage cancer diagnostics.