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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Symbiotic (INNOVATIVE AUTONOMOUS ELECTRICAL BIOSENSOR SYNERGISTICALLY ASSEMBLED INSIDE A PASSIVE DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELL FOR SCREENING CANCER BIOMARKERS)
H2020

Symbiotic Report Summary

Project ID: 665046
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.2.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Symbiotic (INNOVATIVE AUTONOMOUS ELECTRICAL BIOSENSOR SYNERGISTICALLY ASSEMBLED INSIDE A PASSIVE DIRECT METHANOL FUEL CELL FOR SCREENING CANCER BIOMARKERS)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Biosensors are devices which have the ability to recognize specific molecules (biomarkers) that indicate health conditions, such as cancer. They are made of two basic components: (i) a bioreceptor or biorecognition element; and (ii) a transducer element. The bioreceptor system interacts with the target analyte and this interaction is monitored by the transducer, which converts the information into a measurable effect such as an electrical, optical or mass-sensitive signal. The entire system, however, requires an electrical power generator, which limits its use.

The Symbiotic project aims to develop an autonomous electrochemical biosensor that is lightweight, disposable and low cost by using an innovative approach: hosting its bioreceptor element inside a passive direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). This will allow to build an electrically independent, very simple, miniaturized, autonomous electrical biosensor. This work proposes a merge between electrical biosensors and fuel cells, combining the advantages of both areas of research in a single synergetic device.

In this envisaged innovative device, the electrical signal obtained from the DMFC is directly related to the concentration of the cancer biomarker in the sample analyzed. The proposed electrochemical biosensor will be completely autonomous, operating at room temperature and using the oxygen present in the air, thereby allowing diagnosis everywhere.

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

The following work was achieved since the start of the project:
-Several approaches were analysed for biosensor assembling, namely radical polymerization and electropolymerization of suitable monomers on different anode architectures.
-Exploratory experiments under fuel cell environment were performed, allowing to address preliminarily the influence of biological fluids on DMFC performance when the plastic antibody is inserted at the anode. Other experiments allowed to evaluate the biosensor preliminary response to a model protein in real biological fluids.
-The development of complementary sensor systems to allow quantitative evaluation of the final sensor performance is underway. For that, a test system that allow the independent quantification of binding and identification of bound components to the sensor substrate via multiple analytical readouts is under development.
-Exploration of protein mass spectrometry for evaluating MIP performance is on course.
-The consortium successfully demonstrated in nearly passive conditions within a DMFC environment a biosensor targeting a model protein.
-The consortium established that the easier way to integrate both the fuel cell and the signalling device would be with an electrochromic display. Simultaneously, this device would allow to adjust to the specifications of the power output of the fuel cell and wouldn’t require any specific circuit if the signalling was directly connected to the biosensor.
-The project web site, plus various dissemination materials, were created to support the dissemination work. In addition, several disseminations actions took place, such as participation in the Biosensors 2016 congress.

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 major impact of this project is the development of an autonomous, low-cost, disposable electrochemical biosensor for early detection of cancer allowing screening in routine health services even in an asymptomatic population. The developed sensor will be reliable, very sensitive, low-cost, autonomous and capable of detecting different cancer biomarkers, allowing an easy cancer screening all over the globe and also importantly in low and middle income countries. All of this will have a large impact by allowing the detection of cancer in regions where this is currently difficult and/or expensive.

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