Researchers develop new sensor to detect heart attacks in one minute

Seoul, South Korea Updated: Aug 15, 2016, 08:22 AM(IST)

The findings were published in the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics. Photograph:( Getty )

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an electrical immunosensor for early detection of heart attacks, which provides results in just one minute.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Therefore, a fast and reliable diagnosis of heart attack is urgently needed, researchers said. The system works by measuring the level of cardiac troponin I (cTnI), a protein that is excreted by the heart muscle into the blood following a heart attack.

"This new immunosensor is constructed in a different way than any other sensor. Owing to the new design of this immunosensor, this device is able to rapidly diagnose the level of heart attacks at the point of care," said Jaesung Jang from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea.

Using just a single droplet of blood, this immunosensor detects the target protein present in the blood serum following a heart attack and provides a result in one minute.

In the study, dielectrophoretic (DEP) forces were applied to attract the target protein. The incubation time required for the detection is decreased through DEP-mediated biomarker concentration, in which the target protein is attracted onto the sensing areas via electrical forces. Therefore, the dielectrophoretic concentration of cTnI reduced the incubation time required from 60 minutes to one minute, researchers said.

"The level of cTnI within a single droplet of blood serum is not great. However, we were able to attract the target protein onto the sensing areas via electrical forces, thereby greatly improving detection time and detection limit," said Chang-Ho Han from UNIST.

According to researchers, including Abhinav Sharma from UNIST, this novel immunosensor holds considerable potential for use as a platform for sensing distinct types of proteins, along with the feasibility of miniaturisation and integration for biomedical diagnosis. The findings were published in the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics.

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