New applications through nanotechnology

Nanotechnology offers new applications in the area of genetic testing (diagnostic tools). In particular, these innovative solutions can increase speed and accuracy in the process of identifying genes and genetic materials either for treatment-oriented applications or the development of new drugs.

Thus far, various new technologies have been developed. They include, for example, the use of gold nanoparticle probes that are coated with chemicals that enable them to stick to and so target genetic materials. Another promising application is the use of nanomaterials as instruments for analysis. This lab-on-a-chip approach could multiply the types of analysis performed because micro and nanofluidic devices can integrate mixing, moving, incubation, separation, detection and data processing in a small device.

The Cantilever

The cantiMED micro cantilever sensor is a patented physical force sensor that responds to surface stress changes. Caused by adsorption-induced chemical or biological reactions, these processes normally result in a deflection of the cantilever in real time. Specific surface-receptor interaction on the cantilever and molecular recognition of biomolecules translates into nanomechanical motion of the cantilever (from a few nm to hundreds of nm).

Diabetes Mellitus

For many severe diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and cancer cantiMED provides a unique and proprietary diagnostic platform that establishes real-time analysis of multiple parameters with highest possible precision and robustness that can easily be implemented into existing point-of-care tests (POCT).

Real-Time Diagnostic Tool

The patented cantiMED platform can be used by health care providers to adjust the treatment directly to the individual needs of the patient as multiple parameters can be easily measured.
Just consider a glucose test strip that measures the following parameters in parallel and without additional premium costs:

  • blood glucose
  • HbA1c
  • ß-hydroxybutyrate
  • lactate
  • insulin/proinsulin
  • The patented cantiMED biosensor is a new real-time diagnostic tool that is based on the nano-mechanical response of a molecular system to a selected biomarker. A set of specific receptor molecules immobilized on a solid surface has the tendency to attract (adsorb) other target molecules. As consequence of molecular recognition, adsorption takes place when the receptor has sufficient affinity and specificity to the complementary target molecule. Similar to liquids, solids also have a surface tension (or stress), often called “surface free energy.” Unlike the molecules in a liquid surface, which are free to move, the atoms on a solid surface are fixed in a lattice structure and adsorption of molecules is primarily driven by an attempt to minimize the binding energy. This is the origin of surface stress.

Micro Cantilevers

Micro cantilevers, provided by cantiMED, are micromechanical solid beams or leaf springs that instantaneously translate adsorption and surface stress into nanomechanical motion (bending). This effect can be captured in real time with the cantiMED biosensor. It measures the minuscule deflection of the cantilever as a direct consequence of molecular recognition of two complementary molecules. The degree of deflection can be correlated with the amount of biomarker molecules bound or adsorbed to the micro cantilever surface and yields very precisely the concentration of target analyte molecules. The robust and reliable “lock and key” mechanism, fundamental to most recognition processes, ensures well-tuned measurement of the analyte concentration within minutes, and with extremely high stability and accuracy down to pico- and femtomolar concentrations.

cantiMED biosensors are made by a novel very precise 3D nanoprinting core technique, called Nano3DSenseTM, that is key to achieve increasingly smaller mechanical transducers with micro- and nano-sized moving parts. The size of biomolecules of interest is comparable to at least one of the dimensions of the mechanical biosensor system (e.g. the thickness), the mechanical response is highly sensitive to the steric properties of the biomolecule. This makes the cantiMED biosensors unique for unrivaled measurement down to the molecular level, and in the nano- to picogram range. The miniscule dimensions of the cantilever sensing surface require only extremely small volumes of analyte samples (e.g. blood) in the range of only a few micro liters for a single test.