There is an unmet need in clinical point-of-care (POC) cancer diagnostics for early state disease detection, which would greatly increase patient survival rates. Currently available analytical techniques for early stage cancer diagnosis do not meet the requirements for POC of a clinical setting. They are unable to provide the high demand of multiplexing, high-throughput, and ultrasensitive detection of biomarkers directly from low volume patient samples ("liquid biopsy"). To overcome these current technological bottle-necks, herein we present, for the first time, a bottom-up fabrication strategy to develop plasmonic nanoantenna-based sensors that utilize the unique localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) properties of chemically synthesized gold nanostructures, gold triangular nanoprisms (Au TNPs), gold nanorods (Au NRs), and gold spherical nanoparticles (Au SNPs). Our Au TNPs, NRs, and SNPs display refractive index unit (RIU) sensitivities of 318, 225, and 135 nm/RIU respectively. Based on the RIU results, we developed plasmonic nanoantenna-based multiplexing and high-throughput biosensors for the ultrasensitive assay of microRNAs. MicroRNAs are directly linked with cancer development, progression, and metastasis, thus they hold promise as next generation biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. The developed biosensors are capable of assaying five different types of microRNAs at an attomolar detection limit. These sets of microRNAs include both oncogenic and tumor suppressor microRNAs. To demonstrate the efficiency as a POC cancer diagnostic tool, we analyzed the plasma of 20-bladder cancer patients without any sample processing steps. Importantly, our liquid biopsy-based biosensing approach is capable of differentiating healthy from early ("non-metastatic") and late ("metastatic") stage cancer with a p value <0.0001. Further, receiver operating characteristic analysis shows that our biosensing approach is highly specific, with an area under the curve of 1.0. Additionally, our plasmonic nanoantenna-based biosensors are regenerative, allowing multiple measurements using the same biosensors, which is essential in low- and middle-income countries. Taken together, our multiplexing and high-throughput biosensors have the unmatched potential to advance POC diagnostics and meet global needs for early stage detection of cancer and other diseases (e.g., infectious, autoimmune, and neurogenerative diseases).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry