Philips announces breakthrough in point-of-care testing using
25 November 2008
Royal Philips Electronics has developed unique biosensor technology
which has the potential to offer lab-quality immunoassay results at the
point of care.
company unveiled the technology that could transform the rapid diagnosis
sector of the in-vitro diagnostics market at Medica 2008 in Düsseldorf,
Germany last week.
Philips’ new Magnotech technology, which uses magnetic nanoparticles
to measure target molecules, could bring complex in-vitro diagnostic
tests out of the laboratory and into decentralized settings, including
the patient’s bedside and at home. The potential speed, ease of use,
robustness and accuracy of this new technology could address the
requirements of critical-care environments by speeding up the diagnosis
of life-threatening diseases. In addition, it could be suitable for
monitoring chronically ill patients at home.
“Magnotech opens the door for change. It may offer the IVD industry
the option of moving some tests out of the lab,” explains Marcel van
Kasteel, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Philips Handheld
Immunoassays. “Long term, we envisage that different testing stations —
both conventional, automated labs and these new, mobile handheld systems
— will be part of a diagnostic network, using wired or wireless
connectivity and sophisticated healthcare informatics solutions to store
and assist in interpreting the data.”
Taking a sample for analysis
Integrated into a disposable biosensor cartridge that inserts into a
hand-held analyzer, Magnotech uses magnetic nanoparticles to measure
target molecules in very low (picomolar) concentrations in blood or
saliva — in just a few minutes.
The disposable cartridge automatically fills itself from a single
drop of blood or saliva. Once filled, no other fluid movement is
required. Currently, measuring very low concentrations of biomarkers for
the diagnosis of disease (for example, cardiovascular disease) requires
laboratory analysis, large sample volumes and a time-to-result delay of
between 30 and 60 minutes.
The Philips’ Magnotech handheld technology has the potential to
- small sample volume (fingerpick drop of blood or saliva);
- Ease of use (potentially applicable for home testing);
- multi-analyte (several analytes can be measured simultaneously,
depending on the application);
- Lab-quality sensitivity; and
- speed (measurement in 1-5 minutes depending on the application).
The underlying technology
The magnetic nanoparticles are preloaded into the cartridge during
its manufacture and automatically disperse into the sample as the
cartridge fills with saliva or blood. Coated with appropriate ligand
molecules, the nanoparticles quickly bind to target molecules in the
An electromagnet situated under the cartridge brings the magnetic
nanoparticles, including the captured target molecules, into contact
with the active detection surface of the biosensor in order to achieve
fast specific binding at this active surface. A second magnetic field
then pulls any unbound magnetic nanoparticles away from the active
surface, enabling measurement of the remaining target molecules. The
measurement is done using an optical technique based on frustrated total
Philips has demonstrated proof-of-concept for its new biosensor
technology in a variety of biological assays, including sandwich assays
for the detection of cardiac Troponin I (cTnI) and parathyroid
hormone (PTH), and inhibition assays to detect several drugs-of-abuse
molecules (amongst others, morphine). Cardiac Troponin is a blood-borne
protein that at elevated levels provides a useful biomarker for the
diagnosis of myocardial infarction (heart attack). The morphine assay
represents the first test of the technology in drugs-of-abuse testing.
During these proof-of-concept tests, Philips’ Magnotech technology
was shown to speed up assays by a factor of more than 100 when compared
to simply letting the nanoparticles diffuse to the sensor’s active
surface. Furthermore, the technology improves ease of use by eliminating
fluidic washing steps. With cTnI, the assay successfully detected minute
(picomolar) concentrations in under five minutes.
First industry partner announced
The first collaboration agreement for the new technology was also
announced — with one of the leading European companies in drugs of abuse
testing, Concateno plc, based in Abingdon, near Oxford, UK. Concateno
and Philips will deliver the new handheld solution for drugs of abuse
testing to selected customers in 2009.
“This first collaboration is a means of demonstrating the excellence
and robustness of the new technology with a company that is synonymous
with road-side testing and is already working closely with government
departments and police forces. It will be the catalyst for them to grow
and expand their European and global markets. Magnotech delivers them a
highly accurate result in less than two minutes from a saliva sample,”
added Mr. van Kasteel.
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