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Aqueous two-phase systems enable multiplexing of homogeneous immunoassays.

Abstract

Quantitative measurement of protein biomarkers is critical for biomarker validation and early disease detection. Current multiplex immunoassays are time consuming costly and can suffer from low accuracy. For example, multiplex ELISAs require multiple, tedious, washing and blocking steps. Moreover, they suffer from nonspecific antibody cross-reactions, leading to high background and false-positive signals. Here, we show that co-localizing antibody-bead pairs in an aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) enables multiplexing of sensitive, no-wash, homogeneous assays, while preventing nonspecific antibody cross-reactions. Our cross-reaction-free, multiplex assay can simultaneously detect picomolar concentrations of four protein biomarkers ((C-X-C motif) ligand 10 (CXCL10), CXCL9, interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-6) in cell supernatants using a single assay well. The potential clinical utility of the assay is demonstrated by detecting diagnostic biomarkers (CXCL10 and CXCL9) in plasma from 88 patients at the onset of the clinical symptoms of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

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