Blood tests, a routine yet often uncomfortable aspect of healthcare, may soon become less intrusive.
Imagine bypassing needles altogether and opting for a simpler method—saliva analysis. Researchers at ACS Sensors have unveiled a groundbreaking device capable of detecting glucose and adenosine monophosphate (AMP) biomarkers in saliva with exceptional sensitivity.
This innovation could revolutionize at-home health monitoring, eliminating the need for painful procedures.
While blood tests offer crucial insights into one's health, they come with the discomfort of various procedures, from frequent finger pricks to draws by a trained phlebotomist.
Saliva, containing similar biomarkers to blood, has emerged as a promising alternative for tracking essential indicators like glucose. However, existing methods for analyzing saliva often require sophisticated laboratory equipment.
To enable convenient at-home testing, a simple yet accurate sensing platform is essential. The electrochemical aptamer-based (E-AB) biosensor proves to be a promising solution.
This device produces a measurable electrochemical change when a specially designed piece of DNA or RNA, known as an aptamer, binds to its target. Although this technology has been employed in blood samples before, Philippe Dauphin-Ducharme and the team adapted E-AB biosensors for saliva samples.
The researchers selected DNA aptamers previously reported to bind to AMP or glucose and enhanced their sensitivity through re-engineering. These modified aptamers were then mounted on a gold electrode to create the E-AB biosensors.
The saliva samples, collected from a group of participants and pooled together, required no additional preparation steps or reagents. This simplicity allows patients to perform the test easily at home.
In experiments, the researchers found that their devices provided results within 30 seconds, remained stable in undiluted saliva for up to three days, and retained sensitivity for up to a week with proper washing after each use.
Moreover, the glucose sensor exhibited high selectivity, and both AMP and glucose sensors were sensitive enough to detect biomarkers at much lower concentrations than typically found in saliva.
This groundbreaking technology marks the first of its kind to detect glucose in human saliva, offering hope for less invasive and more accessible at-home health monitoring, especially beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.
Nguyen, M-D., et al. (2023) Electrochemical Aptamer-Based Biosensors for Measurements in Undiluted Human Saliva. ACS Sensors. doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.3c01624.