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MiSENS - Simultaneous Electrochemical Detection of miRNAs in Human Body Fluids: development of an Integrated Multiplexed Microfluidic RNA sensor

Project description

The present project aims to develop a rapid, reliable, and ultrasensitive electrochemical MicroRNA (miRNA) lab-on-a-chip (LOC) detection system with multiplexed microfluidics to gauge different miRNAs in clinically relevant samples (including but not limited to blood plasma, saliva, urine, serum or even whole blood) early, easy and simultaneously. Furthermore, it is dedicated to the discovery of different miRNAs as potential biomarkers for lung tumors and interstitial lung diseases (ILD), which can be employed later for diagnostic and prognostic purposes in the clinical settings, included in such a chip-based microfluidic platform. The early detection of disease-causing agents plays a key role in the clinical medicine and will increase the survival chances of the patients. MiRNAs are small RNA molecules that play a key regulatory role in the regulation of gene expression. Some miRNAs are expressed in a disease-specific manner and can be detected in either increased or decreased concentration. Therefore, miRNAs are gaining increasingly importance as biomarkers for cancer, cardiovascular disease and interstitial lung diseases. During the last decade, it has been demonstrated that miRNAs are well preserved in clinically relevant samples (e.g. blood plasma, serum, saliva and urine) and show considerably higher sensitivity than protein-based biomarkers. These aspects will favor miRNAs based detection systems as a standard in the future diagnostics devices and will allow us to use other samples like urine, or saliva and/or to work with low sample volumes for the detection. Miniaturized diagnostic system devices offer an acceleration of the specific and sensitive detection of various biomarkers, which can be adapted into many areas of medicine - from cheaper clinical trials, to early diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases. The combination of microfluidics and fabrication suitable for mass production allows for the construction of low-cost and portable point of care (POC) diagnostic systems which results in additional advantages in terms of speed, and low sample consumption. The new miRNA detection method realized by this proposal using a unique combination of different research areas (Microtechnology, microfluidics and biomedicine) will assist diagnosis and therapy guiding in ILD. The successful demonstration of the proposed miRNA detection system will provide the advantage that miRNA can be measured directly without amplification. The proof of principle measurements show very promising results and let us motivate to combine the existing immunosensors with different amplifications approaches to achieve a miRNA profiling platform without expensive PCR amplification step.

Start/End of project

01.02.2016 until 31.08.2019

Project manager

Richard Bruch; Prof. Dr. Gerald Urban

Contact person

Richard Bruch
Phone:+49 (0) 761 / 203 7263


Prof. Dr. Gernot Zissel, Medical Center - UKF, University of Freiburg


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
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