The US patent office granted patent 8,947,656, entitled “Smartphone biosensor” to the University of Illinois and inventor Prof. Brian T. Cunningham. An option and license agreement for this and other related intellectual property has been negotiated with Exalt Diagnostics.
Imagine going to the doctor’s office where, instead of sending you down to the lab to get your blood drawn, the nurse simply pokes your finger and places a single droplet of your blood into a small plastic cartridge and, within 30 minutes, your physician has access to a myriad of important information about your health.
Exalt Diagnostics’ FluoroBoost™ technology measures the presence and concentration of dozens of proteins circulating inside you. The system can help identify the presence of diseases, such as cancer, that may not become evident until serious symptoms occur. It also can be used to track a developing heart condition, identify your allergies, and flag your exposure to a range of viruses.
Because many of the proteins being examined are only present at vanishingly low concentrations, detecting them in a sample as small as one droplet of blood has been extremely challenging. NIH and NSF-funded research performed at the University of Illinois by the group of Prof. Brian T. Cunningham resulted in the creation of nanostructured surfaces called “photonic crystals” that can efficiently harness the light from a laser and channel it into fluorescently tagged proteins, making them “light up” thousands of times more brightly than they otherwise would.