CD-based ELISA for point-of-care diagnostics

Current methods of medical diagnostics, such as imaging and laboratory tests, tend to be time-consuming, labour intensive, and often limited to biomedical laboratories or hospital settings that have specialized equipment. In contrast, point-of-care diagnostic tools allow testing and diagnosis to be performed in a doctor’s office, at a significantly reduced cost and in a shorter time to obtain test results. This contributes to faster treatment decisions and better follow-up post treatment. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a popular tool for analyzing environmental or biomedical samples. The ELISA method uses a number of biochemical steps to detect the presence of a specific protein (such as an antigen or antibody) in a sample on a microscope slide, which is read by a robotic spotter or microplate reader. Preliminary research has suggested that these bioassays could be prepared on the surface of a compact disc (CD), and the results could be read by a standard computer drive equipped with special software. With commercialization, this method would undoubtedly reduce the cost of biomedical screening. Miao-Ling Ou is developing a diagnostic assay for detecting thrombin using this CD technology. Thrombin is a blood clotting factor that is the focus of many research studies on anticoagulation and cardiovascular disease therapy. Once fully developed, this CD-based ELISA method could be extended to other types of biomolecular interactions, such as those used in the screening of gene mutations or antibody-antigen interactions.