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AI-Driven Biosensors Enhance Disease Detection

The integration of artificial intelligence with healthcare has propelled the development of biosensor technology, particularly in the realm of electrochemical protein biosensors for disease marker detection. These sensors offer a promising avenue for rapid and specific identification of protein biomarkers associated with various diseases, paving the way for enhanced diagnostic capabilities and personalized medicine.

AI-Driven Biosensors Enhance Disease Detection
a PSA detection process, b shrinking polymer-based three-electrode system, c sensor surface modification process, d detection of PSA by decreasing the peak current, e block diagram of the point of care (POC) system, and f photographs of printed circuit boards (left) and electrodes before (center) and after (right) shrinking. Image Credit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41378-024-00700-w

In a recent review article published in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering, researchers from China present recent advancements in electrochemical biosensors for detecting protein biomarkers. The review aims to highlight their application in identifying cancer, viral infections, inflammation, and other diseases.

Background

Electrochemical protein biosensors rely on the specific antibody-antigen binding principle in immunology to achieve desirable specificity in detecting protein biomarkers. However, the intricate molecular structure of proteins often poses challenges in charge transfer, leading to insufficient sensor sensitivity.

To address this, researchers have focused on electrode modification materials and transducer devices to enhance sensitivity and improve practical application prospects. Materials such as metal nanoparticles (NPs), quantum dots (QDs), carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene, and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have been utilized for chemical modification of electrodes, augmenting the molecular recognition function of electrochemical protein sensors.

Studies Highlighted in the Current Review

In the realm of electrochemical protein biosensors, enhancing sensor performance through electrode modification is key. Researchers employ various nanomaterials for electrode enhancements, with methods such as depositing metal nanoparticles like Cu-Ag onto surfaces to improve sensitivity and specificity. These nanoparticles increase the surface area available for biomolecule immobilization and accelerate electron transfer kinetics, boosting sensor sensitivity.

Additionally, QDs such as PbS, noted for their superior photoluminescence, are incorporated into sensors. Controlled deposition of PbS QDs onto electrodes using layer-by-layer techniques markedly enhances detection limits, enabling the precise quantification of protein biomarkers in complex samples.

Graphene, utilized for its rapid charge transfer capabilities, is modified to improve electron transfers during biomarker detection. Functionalizing graphene with specific antibodies or aptamers further augments sensor selectivity.

Moreover, composite nanomaterials like mesoporous Au@Pt nanodendrites are crafted to leverage the distinct properties of combined nanomaterials, offering extensive surface areas for biomolecule immobilization and exceptional catalytic activity for signal enhancement.

Beyond nanomaterials, the integration of transducer devices such as three-electrode systems and field-effect transistors (FETs) is vital. Three-electrode systems create a controlled electrochemical setting for effective signal transduction, while FETs facilitate label-free detection and real-time monitoring of biomolecular interactions. Optimizing these devices is crucial for improving the sensitivity, selectivity, and stability of biosensors in identifying disease markers.

Results and Discussion

Recent research has highlighted the effectiveness of electrochemical protein biosensors in detecting various diseases with high accuracy. For example, biosensors using modified electrodes for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) detection have shown promising sensitivity and specificity, offering a valuable tool for early diagnosis. Similarly, the detection of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in serum samples has demonstrated exceptional accuracy, underscoring the potential of these biosensors in oncology diagnostics.

The detection of IgM antibodies, especially in the context of viral infections, has also been a significant area of focus. Using the unique properties of quantum dots, researchers have developed biosensors that detect IgM antibodies with high sensitivity, providing rapid and reliable diagnostics for infectious diseases.

In the fight against COVID-19, electrochemical protein biosensors for detecting antibodies specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have proven highly effective in facilitating quick and accurate disease management.

Additionally, the use of these biosensors in diagnosing mitochondrial diseases has attracted considerable attention. By targeting specific biomarkers like fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21), researchers have created immunosensors with improved sensitivity and selectivity, making them invaluable for early detection and monitoring of mitochondrial disorders.

The advancement of electrochemical protein biosensors has been greatly supported by the integration of innovative materials and device structures, driving forward the capabilities for enhanced disease marker detection and the development of personalized healthcare solutions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the evolution of electrochemical protein biosensors holds immense potential for revolutionizing disease diagnostics and personalized medicine. By leveraging cutting-edge materials and innovative device designs, researchers are pushing the boundaries of sensitivity, specificity, and reliability in protein biomarker detection.

Future endeavors will focus on addressing challenges related to sample complexity, validation studies, and the development of wearable, noninvasive biosensors for real-time health monitoring. The continued advancement of electrochemical protein biosensors is poised to reshape the landscape of healthcare, offering novel solutions for disease detection, treatment, and prognosis assessment.

Journal Reference

Guo, L., Zhao, Y., Huang, Q. et al. (2024). Electrochemical protein biosensors for disease marker detection: progress and opportunities. Microsystems & Nanoengineering 10, 65. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41378-024-00700-w, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41378-024-00700-w

Dr. Noopur Jain

Written by

Dr. Noopur Jain

Dr. Noopur Jain is an accomplished Scientific Writer based in the city of New Delhi, India. With a Ph.D. in Materials Science, she brings a depth of knowledge and experience in electron microscopy, catalysis, and soft materials. Her scientific publishing record is a testament to her dedication and expertise in the field. Additionally, she has hands-on experience in the field of chemical formulations, microscopy technique development and statistical analysis.    

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