Programmable Bio-nanochip Platform: A Point-of-Care Biosensor System with the Capacity to Learn

Michael P. McRae, Glennon Simmons, Jorge Wong, John T. McDevitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ConspectusThe combination of point-of-care (POC) medical microdevices and machine learning has the potential transform the practice of medicine. In this area, scalable lab-on - A-chip (LOC) devices have many advantages over standard laboratory methods, including faster analysis, reduced cost, lower power consumption, and higher levels of integration and automation. Despite significant advances in LOC technologies over the years, several remaining obstacles are preventing clinical implementation and market penetration of these novel medical microdevices. Similarly, while machine learning has seen explosive growth in recent years and promises to shift the practice of medicine toward data-intensive and evidence-based decision making, its uptake has been hindered due to the lack of integration between clinical measurements and disease determinations.In this Account, we describe recent developments in the programmable bio-nanochip (p-BNC) system, a biosensor platform with the capacity for learning. The p-BNC is a "platform to digitize biology" in which small quantities of patient sample generate immunofluorescent signal on agarose bead sensors that is optically extracted and converted to antigen concentrations. The platform comprises disposable microfluidic cartridges, a portable analyzer, automated data analysis software, and intuitive mobile health interfaces. The single-use cartridges are fully integrated, self-contained microfluidic devices containing aqueous buffers conveniently embedded for POC use. A novel fluid delivery method was developed to provide accurate and repeatable flow rates via actuation of the cartridge's blister packs. A portable analyzer instrument was designed to integrate fluid delivery, optical detection, image analysis, and user interface, representing a universal system for acquiring, processing, and managing clinical data while overcoming many of the challenges facing the widespread clinical adoption of LOC technologies. We demonstrate the p-BNC's flexibility through the completion of multiplex assays within the single-use disposable cartridges for three clinical applications: prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and acute myocardial infarction.Toward the goal of creating "sensors that learn", we have developed and describe here the Cardiac ScoreCard, a clinical decision support system for a spectrum of cardiovascular disease. The Cardiac ScoreCard approach comprises a comprehensive biomarker panel and risk factor information in a predictive model capable of assessing early risk and late-stage disease progression for heart attack and heart failure patients. These marker-driven tests have the potential to radically reduce costs, decrease wait times, and introduce new options for patients needing regular health monitoring. Further, these efforts demonstrate the clinical utility of fusing data from information-rich biomarkers and the Internet of Things (IoT) using predictive analytics to generate single-index assessments for wellness/illness status. By promoting disease prevention and personalized wellness management, tools of this nature have the potential to improve health care exponentially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1368
Number of pages10
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 19 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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