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Vortex enhanced liquid chromatography for HbA1c monitoring based diabetes management in a globalized setting

Project description

A point-of-care assessment of glycosylated hemoglobin

Long-term management of diabetes relies on the assessment of glycated hemoglobin, also known as glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). However, this test requires specialised laboratory equipment and in individuals with hemoglobin variants it fails to accurately estimate the HbA1c fraction. To address this need, the EIC-funded VortexLC project aims to develop a novel device capable of providing an improved HbA1c analysis at the point of care. Researchers will undertake technological advances to miniaturise the assay and enable the quantification of HbA1c variants in an easy and cost-effective manner suitable for the millions of diabetes patients worldwide.


Diabetes is one of the main health risks today with near pandemic dimension, causing blindness, kidney failures, stroke, heart attack, giving rise to very high health care costs (25% in the US) and reducing the quality of life of around 500 million people worldwide. The level of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is used to assess long-term glycemic control and is the best predictor for the risk of developing chronic complication of diabetes and appropriate follow up of the patients. The golden standard is an expert laboratory HPLC method focusing on HbA1c quantification, which has limitations when other relevant hemoglobin variants are to be detected. For approximately 7 % of the world’s population which are carriers of such hemoglobin variants current methods lead to under-, over- or non-estimation of the HbA1c fraction. VortexLC will not only improve the quality of the analysis to give an instant full picture of the health status of diabetes patients, it will also produce a cheap point of care device. The use of vortex flows renders the approach compatible with mass manufacturing of plastic pillar array columns, that are not only much cheaper than commonly used packed bed columns, but wherein also higher separation performances can be obtained. The polymer columns will be fabricated using UV-nanoimprint lithography, plasma technology to make them porous and add a chromatographic coating, and lamination to close the column, all processes that can be scaled to roll-to-roll industrial manufacturing. The columns will be embedded in an instrument that allows for integrated sample preparation and miniaturized UV absorption and SERS detection, allowing for both quantification and identification of analytes. In the project a low footprint demonstrator of the novel system and columns will be built and tested with first synthetic, next human blood samples to quantify Hb1Ac and its genetic variants.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 196 067,50
1050 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 196 067,50

Participants (3)