Next-Generation Point-of-Care Multiplexing Blood Analyzers Using High-Sensitivity NanoPhotonic Devices

Motivation: Infectious diseases world-wide remain a significant cause of illness and death notwithstanding the manifold of medical advances over the last several decades. In 2010, 15 million (M) people died from infections, essentially unchanged from 16 M deaths in 1990. The World Health Organization predicts 13 M deaths due to these causes in 2050. Recognition of the cause of infection in patients requires prompt identification of pathogens and biomarkers, failure of which leads to infection pathophysiology and even deaths in many of the infected individuals. However, control over infectious disease is limited due to the inability of current diagnostic methods for quantitative identification of pathogens and biomarkers in blood in a timely manner at the point-of-care. Current methods of detection are often too time-consuming, requiring concurrent history taking, physical exam, imaging, and laboratory investigations. Additionally, blood, urine and tissue sampling is frequently non-diagnostic due to insufficient sample size or test sensitivity. Often, testing for infection in patients requires multiple methods and platforms that are laboratory based and invariably take time which is critical in conditions like sepsis.

Development: We propose the development of next generation multiplexing blood analyzers which will revolutionize the efficacy, rapidity and reliability of point-of-care infection detection. This will be made possible due to unprecedented sensitivity offered by our innovative nanophotonic sensing (NPS) elements, wherein multi-wavelength light is concentrated within nanoscale domains and the interaction of which with a sample intensifies the detection efficiency and rapidity of optical sensing.

Goal: Our goal is to integrate novel NPS elements with state-of-the-art microfluidic devices, known capture agents, and advanced industry-standard portable modular subsystems so as to realize leading-edge bio sensing instrumentations that will facilitate high-speed identification of multiple target pathogens and biomarkers in human blood. Further, it is our objective to demonstrate the practicality of the novel blood analyzers through pre-clinical experimentation, and subsequently validate the technology through collaborative clinical testing, thus leading to the creation of a commercial-bound point-of-care instrument platform which will provide unprecedented sensitivity and rapidity in sensing.