The unmet need in the biosensing field is to develop technologies that can detect, quantify and even manipulate rare biomarkers. This is important for early disease diagnosis, infection detection and the monitoring and handling of rare cells. Currently, technologies can detect species down to the nanomolar range whereas the amount of biomarker for the early diagnosis of disease is typically in the picomolar range or lower. In the case of rare cells, the requirements may be to detect and manipulate one in a billion cells. The challenges with such ultrasensitive sensors are having more sensitive transducers, mass transport of the biomarkers to the sensor in a reasonable time frame and achieving good selectivity. This project will seek solutions to these three main challenges that will allow the monitoring of rare biomarkers directly in bodily fluids with minimal sample preparation. The focus will be on rare protein and nucleic acid biomarkers and the manipulation and characterisation of rare mammalian and bacterial cells. The solutions will be integrated into platform technologies that will comprise the next generation of precision sensors. These technologies will be end-user driven to foster the growth of the Australian diagnostics device industry centred around the liquid biopsy concept.
End-user driven development of liquid biopsy technologies will address crucial health needs and also foster the further growth of the Australian medical diagnostic device industry.