ULTRAsensitive PLAsmonic devices for early CAncer Diagnosis
ULTRAPLACAD is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, dealing with the development of a compact plasmonic-based device with an integrated microfluidic circuit and functionalized nanostructures for the detection of DNA, microRNA and tumor autoantibodies.
ULTRAPLACAD aims at the development of a novel robust in vitro diagnostic system for early cancer diagnosis, prognosis, patient follow-up and therapy efficacy assessment based on molecular analysis of peripheral blood (liquid biopsy).
Concept pictures of ULTRAPLACAD disposable plasmonic chip (left) and compact reader (right). – © ULTRAPLACAD
ULTRAPLACAD is focused at developing a plasmonic-based device with integrated nanostructures for the detection of mutated DNAs, microRNAs and tumor autoantibodies (a-TAAs). The detection of all these molecular cancer biomarkers freely circulating in blood of colorectal cancer patients will be combined in a single device that is expected to overcome hurdles and limitations of the available approaches.
ULTRAPLACAD will detect genomic DNA and microRNA with no need for preliminary amplification of the nucleic acid sequences. In addition, a-TAAs will be detected with an improved sensitivity with respect to conventional fluorescence detection platforms.
ULTRAPLACAD will develop a bimodal industrial prototype integrating novel surface plasmon resonance imaging (NESPRI) and plasmon-enhanced fluorescence (PEFSI) sensing technologies, thus providing an unique and up to now unprecedented platform for the comprehensive detection of nucleic acids and protein biomarkers in blood plasma. Automated fabrication processes suitable for low cost mass production will be also developed and applied to produce disposable integrated chips.