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Biosensors & bioelectronics

SPAD aptasensor for the detection of circulating protein biomarkers.


PMID 25636022

Abstract

The need for decentralized clinical tests together with the concept of time and cost saving are pushing the development of portable, miniaturized, compact biosensors with diagnostic and prognostic purpose. Here, we propose an innovative detection system based on a Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) with high sensitivity and low noise, crucial features for an efficient chemiluminescence biosensor. The SPAD detector, having 60 µm diameter, has a Photon Detection Efficiency higher than 55% at 425 nm and a Dark Count Rate lower than 100 Hz at room temperature. Our design allows a good optical coupling efficiency between sample and detector. A specific biofunctional surface was implemented taking advantage of aptamers, short DNA sequences having high selectivity and affinity toward their targets. We successfully detected physiological levels of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), a circulating protein biomarker highly correlated with cancer. The SPAD aptasensor showed a Limit of Detection (LoD) in the pM range, stability (up to 42 days) and re-usability (up to seven cycles). This compact biosensor is therefore a promising step toward the actual use of portable microdevices in diagnostics.

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