Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SAPHELY Report Summary

Project ID: 644242
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SAPHELY (Self-amplified photonic biosensing platform for microRNA-based early diagnosis of diseases)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In today’s point-of-care (POC) market segment, there is an ever-increasing demand for novel and more efficient devices for the early diagnosis of diseases, with a special interest in cancer. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), each year approximately 7.5 million people around the world die because of this disease. Despite these numbers, the WHO states that most cancer types have high cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practices. Therefore, having early and trustful detection tools for the implementation of preventive mass screening programs is a key factor for reducing cancer mortality rates.
On the other hand, the scientific community has recognised the importance of nanotechnology for the current market, with improved performances and functionalities compared to existing technologies and opening the field of applications from health and energy to environmental issues. Among them, nanophotonic technology is one of the main candidates for the creation of the core transduction elements of future high-performance biosensors since it provides significant advantages such as high sensitivity, compactness and high integration level, shorter time to result, label-free detection, and use of very low sample volumes.
Within this context, the SAPHELY project aims at developing a compact and low-cost POC device based on nanophotonic technology for its application to minimally-invasive early diagnosis, with initial focus in cancer. This POC device will significantly help to reduce the actual costs designated for early diagnosis and to implement mass screening programs, meaning a significant contribution to the improvement of the citizens’ health status and to the sustainability of healthcare systems.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In summary, the main objectives/tasks/outcomes from the work carried out from the beginning of the project to the end of Period 1 have been:
- The target miRNAs to be detected for the diagnosis of the selected cancer varieties have been determined, as well as some of the molecular beacon (MB) capture probes to be used for their detection (on-going work).
- Work focused on the extraction and isolation of the miRNAs from the human sample is being carried out. This work aims at evaluating the performance of different extraction+isolation protocols as well as their appropriate transference to an integrated microfluidic system.
- The photonic sensing chips based on photonic bandgap (PBG) structures have been designed and initial prototypes have been fabricated and tested (further optimization required). Additionally, some initial tasks focused on the transference of the fabrication process to NIL (nanoimprint lithography) have already been done despite they were planned for Period 2.
- We have also designed and developed a first version of the microfluidic sample delivery cell for the photonic chips.
- An automated readout platform for the sensing chips has been developed, allowing multiple types of photonic interrogation. The operation of this platform has been successfully validated for temperature and refractive index sensing experiments.
- The procedures for the immobilization of the probes onto the photonic sensing structures have been developed and validated using planar substrates (i.e., without fabricated structures on it).
- The development of the technological sub-systems has been monitored in order to ensure a proper integration between them.
- Despite they were expected to begin in Period 2, several tasks related with the development of the “product-like” readout platform have already been started.
- The collection of clinical samples for the validation of the SAPHELY analysis device has begun.
- Exploitation issues of the project have been addressed by determining the main standards and regulations applying to the SAPHELY analysis device and by elaborating a first draft of the initial exploitation plan.
- Dissemination/communication activities targeting the promotion of the SAPHELY project have been carried out.
- A Data Management Plan (DMP) describing the strategy and procedures for open access publication of results and project data has been elaborated.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The novel nanophotonic-based technology to be developed in the SAPHELY project will allow a more sensitive, robust and selective analysis for improved clinical decisions through an early and fast diagnosis of the disease at a reduced cost, thus opening the door to the effective implementation of high-throughput screening programs. This will lead to better health outcomes, since the proper treatment/response can be applied to the patient in an earlier stage, and will contribute to the sustainability of the health care system by decreasing the expenditure associated with pharmaceutical treatments and with hospitalization. Moreover, this analysis device can also be used for its application in the monitoring and assessment of therapeutic response of a patient, opening the door to the practical implementation of the so-called “personalized medicine”.

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