Description of electronically detecting pressure molecules in blood in nanopores.Credit: Ella Marushenko

A research team led by Rutgers University has developed a microchip that can measure stress hormones in real time from a drop of blood.

The research was published in the journal Scientific progress.

Cortisol and other stress hormones regulate many aspects of our physical and mental health, including sleep quality. High levels of cortisol can cause poor sleep, which increases stress, which can lead to panic attacks, heart attacks, and other diseases.

Currently, measuring cortisol requires expensive and cumbersome laboratory settings, so the team led by Rutgers University is looking for a way to monitor natural fluctuations in their daily lives and provide feedback to patients so that they can receive it at the right time The right treatment.

Researchers use the same technology used to make computer chips to build sensors that are thinner than human hair and can detect low levels of biomolecules. They verified the performance of the miniature device on 65 blood samples from patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

“The use of nanosensors allows us to directly detect cortisol molecules without any other molecules or particles as labels,” said lead author Reza Mahmoodi, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. .

Mehdi Javanmard, associate professor and senior author of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University, said that with the help of the team’s new microchip and other technologies, patients can monitor their hormone levels and better manage chronic inflammation, stress, and chronic inflammation at a lower cost. other illnesses.

“Our new sensor produces accurate and reliable responses and can continuously read cortisol levels for real-time analysis,” he added. “It has great potential for non-invasive cortisol measurement in other fluids such as saliva and urine. The fact that molecular markers are not required eliminates the need for large instruments such as optical microscopes and plate readers, making the reading instrument the ultimate It can be measured in a small pocket-sized box, and it can even be worn on a wristband one day.”

Reference: “Single-step label-free nanopore immunoassay accurately quantifies serum stress hormones in minutes” Authors: S. Reza Mahmoodi, Pengfei Xie, Daniel P. Zachs, Erik J. Peterson, Rachel S. Graham, Claire RW Kaiser, Hubert H. Lim, Mark G. Allen, and Mehdi Javanmard, June 30, 2021, Scientific progress.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf4401

The research includes co-author Xie Pengfei, Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Students, as well as researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania. The research was funded by the DARPA ElectRX program.


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