The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is patenting biosensor chips based on graphene, graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes that will improve the analysis of biochemical reactions and accelerate the development of novel drugs.
Graphene is the first truly two-dimensional crystal, which was obtained experimentally and investigated regarding its unique chemical and physical properties. In 2010, two MIPT alumni, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for ground-breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene". There has now been a considerable increase in the number of research studies aimed at finding commercial applications for graphene and other two-dimensional materials. One of the most promising applications for graphene is thought to be biomedical technologies, which is what researchers from the Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics at the MIPT's Center of Excellence for Nanoscale Optoelectronics are currently investigating.
Label-free biosensors are relatively new in biochemical and pharmaceutical laboratories, and have made work much easier. The sensors enable researchers to detect low concentrations of biologically significant molecular substances (RNA, DNA, proteins, including antibodies and antigens, viruses and bacteria) and study their chemical properties. Unlike other biochemical methods, fluorescent or radioactive labels are not needed for these biosensors, which makes it easier to conduct an experiment, and also reduces the likelihood of erroneous data due to the effects that labels have on biochemical reactions. The main applications of this technology are in pharmaceutical and scientific research, medical diagnostics, food quality control and the detection of toxins. Label-free biosensors have already proven themselves as a method of obtaining the most reliable data on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs in pre-clinical studies. The advantages of this method are explained by the fact that the kinetics of the biochemical reactions of the ligand (active substance) with different targets can be observed in real time, which allows researchers to obtain more accurate data about the reaction rates, which was not previously possible. The data obtained gives information about the efficacy of a drug and also its toxicity, if the targets are "healthy" cells or their parts, which the drug, ideally, should not affect.
Most label-free biosensors are based on the use of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy. The "resonance" parameters depend on the surface properties to such an extent that even trace amounts of "foreign" substances can significantly affect them. Biosensors are able to detect a trillionth of a gram of a detectable substance in an area of one square millimetre.
Commercial devices of this type are sold in a format similar to "razor blade" business model, which includes an instrument and highly expensive consumables. The instrument is the biosensor itself, comprising optics, microfluidics and electronics. The consumables for biosensors are sensor chips comprised of a glass substrate, thin gold film and a linking layer for the adsorption of biomolecules. Sensor chips currently use two types of linking layer technology that were developed more than 20 years ago and are based either on a layer of self-assembled thiol molecules, or a layer of hydrogel (usually carboxymethyl dextran). The profit that companies have received from the sale of biosensors and consumables is evenly distributed at a ratio of 50:50.
The authors of the patent, Aleksey Arsenin and Yury Stebunov, are proposing an alternative to existing sensor chips for biosensors based on surface plasmon resonance. Under certain conditions, the use of graphene or graphene oxide as a linking layer between metal film and a biological layer comprised of molecule targets is able to significantly improve the sensitivity of biodetection. The graphene sensor chips were tested on Biacore™ T200 (General Electric Company) and BiOptix 104sa biosensors.
The use of graphene oxide sensor chips to analyse DNA hybridization reactions is described in detail in a recent paper by the authors in the American Chemical Society's journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. In addition to a higher level of sensitivity than similar commercial products, the proposed sensor chips possess the required property of biospecificity and can be used multiple times, which greatly reduces the costs of conducting biochemical studies using the chips.
The use of graphene increases the sensitivity of analyses conducted using SPR spectroscopy more than ten times, which will revolutionize the field of pharmaceutical biodetection. The application of biosensors is currently limited to analysing biological products based on large molecules, whilst more than half of the drugs produced each year have a low molecular weight (no more than a few hundred Daltons). Immobilization of drug targets on the surface of a graphene chip will enable scientists to test the interaction between targets and small molecules. An example of this could be the development of drugs that act on receptors coupled with G-proteins (GPCRs), which are currently the targets for 40% of drugs on the market. Pharmaceutical studies of drugs acting on GPCRs are not currently conducted using SPR due to the insufficient sensitivity of the method. It is therefore expected that the use of graphene biosensors in pharmaceutical studies will help to accelerate the development of drugs and overcome dangerous diseases that cannot be treated with the drugs currently on the pharmaceutical market.
The authors are continuing to work to improve their development and expect that for certain reactions, biosensor chips based on the new carbon materials will provide a level of sensitivity that is dozens or hundreds of times higher than similar commercial products currently on the market. They are also considering the possibility of commercializing graphene chips. In 2014 alone, approximately 10 billion US dollars were spent on pre-clinical studies. According to estimates, the annual market for biosensor chips is worth a total of approximately 300 million US dollars. The excellent properties of graphene biosensor chips will enable them to compete strongly with existing types of chips - up to one third of the entire market.
Valerii Roizen | EurekAlert!
21.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences