Our novel technology allows quick quantitative measurement of numerous characteristics of bodily fluids in a labeling-free manner. Based on a unique dielectric dispersion of water in the microwave frequency band and its sensitivity to solute, our approach can screen and test biological fluids, like blood, milk, sperm and more. This technology can be used for a wide range of applications, including the analysis of various deviations in patients expressed in the blood or erythrocyte cytosol. This includes testing pregnant women who have suffered trauma and screening of hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell disease and thalassemia) and those suffering from malaria.
Numerous medical and pharmacological applications can be developed on this principle. Several examples, but not limited to, include:
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for determining fetal-maternal hemorrhage (responsible for nearly 3% of all fetal deaths).
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for the massive population screening for the identification of hemoglobinopathies (including sickle cell disease and thalassemia) as well as for monitoring for the efficacy of the medical treatment for such patients.
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for the ex vivo blood glucose measurement.
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for measuring other blood cell proteins’ HbA1c and/or glycosylation levels.
- An express and labeling-free qualitative method for an early detection of Plasmodium falciparum (malaria) infection in human subjects by measurement the parasite-sequestered RBC concentration.
- An express and labeling-free qualitative test for polycythemia as well as acute or chronic uses of Erythropoietin (EPO). This test is essential for anti-doping and sport medicine targets.
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for measuring leucocyte numbers and distribution in whole blood sample.
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for measuring erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). The ESR is a common blood test that may indicate and monitor an increase in inflammatory activity within the body caused by one or more conditions such as autoimmune disease, infections, injury, or tumors. An express and labeling-free quantitative method for blood coagulation test.
- An express and labeling-free quantitative method for measuring native RBC hemolysis.
- An express and labeling-free method for milk properties testing.
- An express and labeling-free method for measuring of sperm quality and properties.
- An express and labeling-free method for measuring of urine properties.
- An express and labeling-free method for measuring of different drinks including mineral water, fruit juice and wine properties, including contaminations.
Innovation & Advantages
The present invention is based on the approach that quantifies water relaxation peaks associated with substratum-water interactions. The values of the dielectric permittivity and losses obtained at these frequencies will allow evaluating the dielectric relaxation parameters of its dispersion. The measured changes in the dielectric response are associated with the delicate interplay between bound and bulk water in the tested sample. This ratio directly reflects the physical and biochemical state of biomolecules that are in dynamic interaction with water molecules.
The main idea is based on microwave broadband dielectric measurements. We selected the two most sensitive frequencies to alter the water relaxation peak. We developed and built a miniaturized microwave sensor that provides sensitive measurements in a small fluid volume. The sample volume can be varied depending on the fluid type and specification of the measurement conditions. Sample volume can be changed from 43 to 500 µL, depending on the specific measurement conditions. Thus, it becomes possible to characterize the liquid by one of its drops, if necessary. The dielectric permittivity and losses obtained at selected frequencies will allow evaluating the dielectric relaxation parameters. The dielectric response’s measured changes are associated with the delicate interplay between bound and bulk water in the tested sample. This ratio directly reflects biomolecules’ physical and biochemical state in dynamic interaction with water molecules. In case of cells the special approach allowed to test the properties of cytoplasmic water.
Our potential users are Pregnancy Care Clinics/Units Hematological & Gynecological Clinics; Family Physicians; Sports medicine; Emergency rooms; Telemedicine; Ambulance and home medical services. For drinks it is a market of quality control.
We are promoting the project proposed above in several directions simultaneously. We have been most successful in the following areas:
- Using the Broad Band Microwave Dielectric Spectroscopy in the frequency range 50 MHz -50 GHz we confirmed the sensitivity of this method to tiny changes of dielectric parameters of the main dispersion of water for different aqoues solutions and cell suspension and developed routine allowing to extract the dielectric relaxation parameters that reflects the character of solvent solute interaction including cell suspensions.
- We simulated various designs of microwave sensors and select one that meets the tasks to the maximum extent, a combination of high sensitivity with a small volume of a liquid sample (the minimum allowable size is 43 ml, the volume of one drop). We designed and tested the sensors, which showed their high sensitivity.
- We have shown that the proposed approach makes it possible to determine the concentration of fetal blood in the mother’s blood with high accuracy. This opens the potential for creating a device that allows diagnosing fetal-maternal hemorrhage (and ranking disease severity) within a few minutes based on the results of a blood drop analysis. We performed preliminary sensitivity testing of the proposed approach to screen large populations for disease identification. We also have a proof of concept for other numerous applications.
The Business Opportunity
We are looking for pre-seed funding opportunities to establish our startup company.