Developed based on organic elements, biosensors are small devices, implantable or not, that use biological reactions to detect a certain target, facilitating the disease x identification interface, without losing diagnostic quality (such as sensitivity and specificity). They are basic structure equipment, composed of a recognition element, a transducer and a processing unit, and their application will depend on the phenomenon or property to be evaluated and the type of sample used. Capable of identifying substances in real time, biosensors are highly sensitive, selective and simple (dispensing with the use of more complex and costly technologies), in addition to providing several advantages, such as ease and speed in diagnosis, portability, easy handling, accessibility and readiness for use, that is, they do not require any type of installation or prior configuration. Clinical analyzes and diagnoses are the main target of research and production of biosensors and, with regard to health, the possibilities for their application are countless: monitoring of chronic conditions, tracking of drugs and their actions, optimization of bioprocesses, dosage of oxygen or alcohol levels in the blood, genetic analyzes and many others. Currently, progress in the field of molecular biology, along with the creation of different types of sensors for cell analysis, has been increasing the possibilities of using biosensors. This has drawn the attention of researchers regarding the development and use of this equipment for the detection of infectious diseases (Dengue, for example), genetic mutations and for the diagnosis and prevention of cancer (a complex and multifactorial disease). Another event that has attracted a lot of attention is the use of nanotechnology in the manufacture of these devices.
The field of biosensors is expanding, mainly due to their versatility, their association with low cost and their easy disposal (following environmental standards), which makes their application increasingly viable. Data show that by 2022 the biosensors market could move around US$ 27 billion, with the medical application representing 66% of this entire market. Furthermore, its development is a simple idea that can provide a huge advance for science and technology, being seen as a new alternative for analysis.
As the main objective of biosensors is to improve patient screening, streamline their care, facilitate therapies and reduce medication risks, it is very important that, together with the biotechnological progress contained in these devices, people’s consumption and understanding be worked on, to that the objective is achieved effectively. To this end, these products have been made to make them smaller, simpler and clearer (helping to break some prejudices); thus, its use will become intuitive and open to any type of person, regardless of their level of knowledge, as is the case with the blood glucose meter, which is one of the greatest examples of the application of a biosensor in health: a simple device that the some governments itself offers free of charge to people with diabetes, where its ease of handling is so great that there is no resistance regarding its use, application and measurement safety.
Since the first commercial biosensor was developed using technology created by Leland C. Clark, thousands of studies and surveys for various analytes have been published. However, few of them are commercially available due to the technical challenges to make them portable and applicable in our daily lives. Studies show that there are cells developing in the breast tissue before the appearance of the tumor. Therefore, before the appearance of a nodule, it would be possible to detect early breast cancer. Traditional methods use breast touch examination and mammography. In the touch exam, the woman can only identify the cancer when the nodule is already one centimeter or more. In mammography it is possible to detect nodules of up to four millimeters. In these cases, the cancer is already installed and, many times, it can be too late.
Research for the development of low-cost, reusable, wearable and wireless biosensors. To achieve this goal, multidisciplinary teams need to work in harmony to enable control of the device’s production process and overcome any technical issues. Our solution is the creation of an electrochemical platform specially structured to accurately and highly sensitively monitor interactions between proteins. For example, for Cancer prevention, our concept intends the manufacture a biosensor the size of a 50 cent coin with 64 integrated sensors, capable of identifying breast cancer early. The device will detect in a very simple way and in a few minutes the presence of a protein that indicates the appearance of a breast tumor still in its pre-development stage before the appearance of the nodule. The examination with the device, will allow the detection of cancer through a single drop of blood.
This biosensor will be able to identify the HER2 protein (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2), which, in abnormal amounts, appears in 25% to 30% of cases of breast cancer. Another example is a device to be used in the detection of the interaction between ADAM17, a metalloproteinase associated with the development and progression of different types of tumors, with its ligand, thioredoxin.
This electrochemical biosensor could pave the way for future rapid tests capable of contributing to the diagnosis and even prognosis of cancer and other diseases. The idea is to detect proteins associated with pathologies in samples of saliva and other body fluids (known as liquid biopsies) and thus help doctors choose the most appropriate therapies for each patient.
Transceptar is a leading AI company in health and precision medicine. Its AI-powered genetic testing company generates the most accurate and precise DNA test reports since 2011.