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"MoleProbe": A real-time molecular diagnostic device

The invention is a novel engineering method for generation of freestanding 2-D and 3-D tissue structures. Biopolymers (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids or combinations thereof) are deposited onto a transitional polymer surface with a patterning technique that allows for nanometer-to-millimeter-scale spatial positioning. In one example, the transitional polymer layer dissolves or switches states to release the biopolymer structure(s). The free-standing biopolymer structure(s) is then seeded with functionally active cells that become spatially organized according to the imprinted pattern. Alternatively, the predetermined pattern of the biopolymer scaffold is seeded with functionally active cells that become spatially organized according to the imprinted pattern. Subsequently, the transitional polymer layer dissolves or switches states to release the biopolymer structure(s) and cells together as an integrated, free-standing construct. The predetermined pattern upon which the cells attach and the cell type used to seed the film/polymer scaffold depends upon the desired tissue type. For example, smooth muscle cells are used for blood vessels and other internal organs, striated muscle cell for skeletal muscle tissue, and cardiac (cardiomyocytes) for heart tissue. Alternatively, the structure is assembled in an iterative manner by which a scaffold is made, seeded with cells, and stacked with another scaffold, which in turn is seeded with cells. This seed/stack process is repeated to construct a 3-D structure. In some cases different cell types are seeded together or sequentially, e.g, for construction of neural tissue, glial cells are seeded and then neurons.

Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending

Applications

The polymer film will enable surgical instruments to detect cancerous tissues with molecular specificity and sensitivity. In one application, a catheter will be capable of providing point of care tumor diagnostics by oncologists. Other clinical applications may leverage the versatile polymer films to regulate analyte concentrations in solution or provide localized delivery of drugs or analytes, while non-clinical applications may generate label-free electrochemical CMOS microarrays and proteomic chips.

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