Research Highlights

Prof. Jeong-Soo Lee Develops Highly Sensitive Biosensors to Diagnose Heart Attacks

2015-11-10 1,775
Prof. Jeong-Soo Lee 

Prof. Jeong-Soo Lee (Dept. of Electrical Engineering) and Dr. Kihyun Kim (Dept. of Creative IT Engineering and Future IT Innovation Lab) have developed highly sensitive biosensors using novel nanonet structure to diagnose acute myocardial infarction (AMI). This research result was published in the highly authoritative journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

AMI, also called a heart attack, is the leading cause of death worldwide and the mortality from AMI is expected to increase rapidly due to increasing stress in modern society. AMI is caused by the necrosis of heart muscle due to blockage of a coronary artery. Most patients can die within the first two hours after the onset of a heart attack because 85% of heart damage proceeds during that time. Therefore, early and accurate diagnosis of AMI and prompt treatment are essential to raise the survival rate. The diagnosis of AMI is conducted by detecting the elevated concentration of biomarkers related to the myocardial necrosis in the blood. Cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is the most preferred biomarker due to its high specificity and high sensitivity.

The research team has proposed a novel honeycomb-like structure such as a nanowire configuration in the biosensor to improve the detection limit and sensitivity. The developed biosensor exhibits the lowest detection limit (5 pg/mL) to date and this value is 20 times lower than the current diagnostic method (~100 pg/mL). In addition, the fabricated device demonstrates a good selectivity for detecting cTnI. The superior performance of the biosensor comes from the geometrical advantage of nanonet structures, which can provide improved signal transduction and increased sensing area due to the periodically repeating Y junctions.

According to Prof. Lee’s research, this biosensor has much possibility of commercialization because the device was fabricated using a commercial CMOS technology providing various advantages such as easy mass production, low device-to-device variation, and low cost.

Prof. Lee emphasized, “This research will help to develop highly sensitive sensor products and will be utilized in various sensor applications such as medical diagnosis, nerve agent detection, and environmental monitoring”.

This research was supported by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD-14-02-06-20), Republic of Korea.