Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 17002
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Sweden

Better diagnostic tools for reading biological state

An increasing turn to diagnoses of patient-specific pathologies calls for advances in biological testing methods and equipment. An EU-funded project has developed a magnetic technology based on nanotech structures that may help realise better results.
Better diagnostic tools for reading biological state
The 'Biological diagnostic tools using microsystems and supersensitive magnetic detection' (Biodiagnostics) project sought to develop new medical diagnostic tools based on available sensitive detector technologies. Biodiagnostics aimed to realise enhanced readouts of biological state in the magnetic domain both by using magnetic nanoparticles as substrates and by reading out the atomic nuclear spin.

Benchmarking competing technologies with a model system offers a unique understanding of the differences and advantages of the various systems. Project partners used pure magnetic-field read-out system technology that has a sensitivity more or less independent of frequency and magnetic field.

Plans were made for developed technologies to be exploited in a number of select applications, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). At the same time, work on tailored magnetic nanoparticles aimed at the development of new target-specific contrast agents for the two applications.

The developed instrument is a magnetic susceptometer that is already being used for magnetic characterisation of the nanoparticles and which can follow the binding reactions of substances to the particle surface.

Further activities focused on superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) systems for providing low-noise readout schemes for low-frequency broadband NMR and MRI. SQUID sensor-based instrumentation can read out immunoassay arrays and detect the transport of magnetic nanoparticles in vivo.

Studies revealed improvements in detection of an order of magnitude compared to commonly used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), with predictions indicating two or possibly three orders of magnitude in improvement. It is possible for studies to be conducted either in vitro or in vivo.

Combining studies in biophysics, medicine and electronics together with the end-user perspectives aimed to ensure the relevance of the application and capitalise on high-level expertise from each field.

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