POINT OF CARE

Point-of-care (POC) testing is defined as medical testing at or near the site of the patient care. The goal of POC testing is to provide rapid response and facilitate evidence-based medical decisions that improve patient outcomes and reduce patient acuity, criticality, morbidity, and mortality. In particular, POC tests have the potential to improve the management of infectious diseases, especially in resource-limited settings where health care infrastructures are weak, and access to quality and timely medical care is a challenge. Most importantly, POC tests can be simple enough to be used at the primary care level and can potentially empower patients to self-test in the privacy of their homes, especially for stigmatized diseases.

In this context, the advance of micro- and nano-technologies and the fabrication of new biosensors enabled a rapid growth of POC diagnostics market that is expected to reach $27.5 billion by 2018. In particular, the miniaturization of sensing devices allows for portability, which is one of the main requirements for POC applications, and leads to better performance in terms of sensitivity, reliability of extracted data, and time of detection.

The extensive use of biosensors for POC systems depends on the development of bio-sensing techniques that allow label-free detection of biomarkers with high selectivity and sensitivity. Various types of bio-receptors such as enzymes, antibodies, nucleic acids, or cells can be used with this aim.

The group Tech4Bio has acquired the know-how and the facilities needed for the fabrication of several types of biosensors integrable in POC systems and based on different transduction mechanisms: optical, electrochemical, piezoelectric, and etc. In our Labs, we develop biosensors based on the propagation of acoustic waves for different applications. For example, Shear Horizontal Surface Acoustic Wave (SH-SAW) devices coated with a proper bio-receptor are a versatile tool that can detect antigens providing highly specific responses in samples from serum, urine, or saliva.