Application of programmable bio-nano-chip system for the quantitative detection of drugs of abuse in oral fluids

Nicolaos Christodoulides, Richard De La Garza, Glennon W. Simmons, Michael P. McRae, Jorge Wong, Thomas F. Newton, Regina Smith, James J. Mahoney, Justin Hohenstein, Sobeyda Gomez, Pierre N. Floriano, Humberto Talavera, Daniel J. Sloan, David E. Moody, David M. Andrenyak, Thomas R. Kosten, Ahmed Haque, John T. McDevitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: There is currently a gap in on-site drug of abuse monitoring. Current detection methods involve invasive sampling of blood and urine specimens, or collection of oral fluid, followed by qualitative screening tests using immunochromatographic cartridges. While remote laboratories then may provide confirmation and quantitative assessment of a presumptive positive, this instrumentation is expensive and decoupled from the initial sampling making the current drug-screening program inefficient and costly. The authors applied a noninvasive oral fluid sampling approach integrated with the in-development chip-based Programmable bio-nano-chip (p-BNC) platform for the detection of drugs of abuse. Method: The p-BNC assay methodology was applied for the detection of tetrahydrocannabinol, morphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone and benzodiazepines, initially using spiked buffered samples and, ultimately, using oral fluid specimen collected from consented volunteers. Results: Rapid (~10 min), sensitive detection (~ng/mL) and quantitation of 12 drugs of abuse was demonstrated on the p-BNC platform. Furthermore, the system provided visibility to time-course of select drug and metabolite profiles in oral fluids; for the drug cocaine, three regions of slope were observed that, when combined with concentration measurements from this and prior impairment studies, information about cocaine-induced impairment may be revealed. Conclusions: This chip-based p-BNC detection modality has significant potential to be used in the future by law enforcement officers for roadside drug testing and to serve a variety of other settings, including outpatient and inpatient drug rehabilitation centers, emergency rooms, prisons, schools, and in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Drugs of abuse
  • Multiplexed
  • On-site testing
  • Oral fluid
  • Programmable bio-nano-chip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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