Biosensors have achieved considerable success in both the commercial and academic arenas and the need for new, easy-to-use, home and decentralised diagnostics is now greater than ever. Healthcare spending is growing unsustainably and has already reached 18% of GDP in the USA and 9.5% of GDP in Europe. New thinking is crucial to finding effective solutions that deliver the high quality of life rightly demanded by our ever ageing population while leveraging technology to deliver this in a cost-effective manner. Several key drivers are coming together to form a “perfect storm” that may just finally catalyse change to our 2,500 year-old model of healthcare delivery. Personalised medicine recognises that every individual is different and needs a tailor-made health package; these differences can only be identified with an appropriate suite of diagnostics. Individuals are increasing recognising that data about their bodies should be owned by them and that they should have the choice to use and supplement this information. This generates consumer choice and drives evidence-based payment, where regimens and treatments are paid for on the basis of successful outcomes. Focus on the individual and their needs drives decentralisation and the possible radical restructuring of how we deliver health management both nationally and internationally. This is underpinned by technologies facilitating mobility and data processing. At the core of all this, however, is rapid, convenient and easy ways to measure our body chemistries at the genomic, proteomic and metabolomic levels. Next generation diagnostics fabrication is targeting fully-integrated platforms such as the all-printed biosensing systems, integrated sampling and wearable devices. Further development will result in cost reduction and a diversity of formats such as point-of-care tests, smart packaging, telemetric paper strips and print-on-demand analytical devices.
This presentation will focus on meeting these challenges using amperometric and votammetric systems printed on paper or plastic substrates to deliver inexpensive instruments for a wide range of electroanalytical applications. This approach combines the sophistication of advanced electrochemical biosensors with a simple manufacturing technique to create a use-and-throw instrument. The system is manufactured under ambient conditions. All interconnections are printed and an anisotropic conductive glue is used for interconnection between the chip and conductors. A screen-printed manganese dioxide battery and a vertical electrochromic display are incorporated in the instrument. The display is paper-like in the sense that it works in reflective mode, that is, no backlight is used to light up the pixels. This integrated biosensing platform forms a workhorse in our hands for a variety of diagnostic systems including enzyme electrodes for multi-parametric diabetes monitoring and for the management of chronic kidney disease, electrochemical sensors for enzymes such as G6-P or amylase (a marker for stress), label-free affinity sensors for cancer markers and heart disease, aptasensors for cancer cells, DNA Sensors and robust devices based on imprinted and smart polymers. Using these technologies, we envision over-the-counter paper instruments for self-diagnosis of common diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and urinary tract infection;
inexpensive devices for use by caregivers or paramedics such as the ”Stressometer” or heart attack indicators; home kits to support people after transplant surgery or cancer treatment, smart cartons for pharmaceuticals; pocket tests for allergens, food toxicity, drinking water etc. and strips or patches that communicate with mobile telecommunications. Realisation of these paradigm-changing new products requires the effective harnessing of emerging technology, inspired vision from clinical partners or others “users” and leading-edge engineering to design and produce functional systems in appropriate volumes at the right cost.
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