Biosensors: Heart of the Matter

IME researchers have developed a novel microfluidics system for rapid and sensitive label-free detection of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are circulating stem cells from the bone marrow that are involved in vascular surfaces repair. Their number in blood is a biomarker of clinical interest, linked to the assessment of risk factors in cardiovascular diseases. Potential application of the IME-developed tool would be to facilitate cardiologists to promptly prescribe an appropriate stent technology for heart patients with blocked arteries since the level of EPCs can be obtained in 90 minutes versus 4 – 5 hours using conventional method (i.e. flow cytometry). Since no expensive equipment set-up is required, this system can be developed into a valuable bedside tool for point-of-care diagnostics.