Researchers at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada, have come up with a new way of printing paper biosensors that are stable and effective in detecting a variety of pathogens.
Advanced medical care can be made accessible to clinical locales with the use of paper-based diagnostics. Complicated handling requirements and difficulty in manufacturing were the drawbacks for a number of paper-based devices developed in the past.
AdvertisementThe new technique uses a modified inkjet printer to put down ink consisting of mega Dalton-sized tandem repeating structure-switching DNA aptamers. These remain stable and strongly attached to the paper after printing, but are also sufficiently flexible to change their structure and remain compatible with fluorescence imaging. This makes it easy for the DNA strands to spot just about any micro organism, including bacteria, viruses, as well as small molecules that are markers for disease.
The team aims for a future where clinics and doctors' offices will have specialized printers that can produce biosensors specifically for individual patients to help diagnose their conditions. Moreover, the technology can also be used to screen food for pathogens, hopefully preventing food borne infections that ravage poor parts of the world.