PreDICT: Point-of-care Nanoplasmonic Platforms for Novel High-Value Diagnostics and Therapy Follow-Up

The constant progress in understanding the underlying mechanisms of complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases or neurodegenerative disorders has steadily increased as disciplines related to proteomics, genomics and also metabolomics have emerged and being exploited. These advancements are inevitably changing traditional concepts in medical care through the development of specific diagnostic strategies and the design of tailored therapies and continuous monitoring of the disease evolution. Achieving personalized treatment will arise as a new model of providing more accurate and effective healthcare. In this regard, advanced diagnostic tools exemplified in point-of-care (POC) devices have already become indispensable elements to accomplish it. Integrated and portable biosensors must eventually provide fast, accurate, reliable and cost-effective diagnosis that should ultimately enable early and more efficient treatments. Biosensing platforms located at clinical settings or even at the doctor’s office that can monitor the levels of endogenous biomarkers, particular gene expression events or drug and drug metabolites levels during treatment is intended to represent a significant breakthrough towards improved medical care and clinical outcome.

PreDICT proposal aims to develop an advanced diagnostic tool based on label-free nanoplasmonic sensing that will allow the direct analysis of biological samples in such a way it allows not only de detection of the disease but also the monitoring of its progression and therapy follow-up. We aim to integrate multiple functionalities in a single nanoplasmonic transducer to perform multiplex analysis in a sensitive and selective manner.
The diagnostic platform will include nanophotonic biosensing chips based on gold nanostructures fabricated by low-cost self-assembly techniques, exploiting the localized surface plasmon resonance principle (LSPR). LSPR-based biosensing platforms are considered to be the next-generation plasmonic biosensors. Their inherent advantages over conventional surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensors are expected to fill in the gaps left partially unsolved by SPR sensors, in terms of sensitivity, miniaturization and multiplexed capabilities. The nanoplasmonic diagnostic platform will include the nanostructured chips, the microfluidics and the necessary optical components to perform multiplexed measurements, the data acquisition and processing electronics to autonomously operate. We aim at integrating a device with easy-to-use performance, fast, that allows real-time detection of small volumes of sample in a label-free configuration.
As proof-of-concept of the potential and viability of this platform as next-generation tool for patient stratification and personalized treatment, we aim at implementing in a single chip several biomarkers that play a critical role in lung cancer, not only for diagnosis but also related to understanding cellular pathways that are involved in the appearance and evolution of the disease. We attempt to focus on both predictive and prognostic biomarkers in order to detect, diagnose and follow disease progression during and after treatment. In particular we will try to converge in the same detection platform the following: (i) diagnostic protein biomarkers and (ii) changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms such as DNA methylation, alternative RNA splicing variants, and dysregulation of non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs.

Finantial support: Ministerio de Economía, Industría y Competitividad (TEC 2016-78515-R)

From: 31/12/2016-31/12/2019