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Sci Adv. 2019 Sep 25;5(9):eaax4473. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax4473. eCollection 2019 Sep.

Point-of-care biomarker quantification enabled by sample-specific calibration.

Author information

1
School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30318, USA.
2
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
3
Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
4
Center for Synthetic Biology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
5
Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
6
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
7
Simpson Querrey Institute, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.

Abstract

Easy-to-perform, relatively inexpensive blood diagnostics have transformed at-home healthcare for some patients, but they require analytical equipment and are not easily adapted to measuring other biomarkers. The requirement for reliable quantification in complex sample types (such as blood) has been a critical roadblock in developing and deploying inexpensive, minimal-equipment diagnostics. Here, we developed a platform for inexpensive, easy-to-use diagnostics that uses cell-free expression to generate colored readouts that are visible to the naked eye, yet quantitative and robust to the interference effects seen in complex samples. We achieved this via a parallelized calibration scheme that uses the patient sample to generate custom reference curves. We used this approach to quantify a clinically relevant micronutrient and to quantify nucleic acids, demonstrating a generalizable platform for low-cost quantitative diagnostics.

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