The functioning principle
Snifits4Health - an idea that originated in May 2019 and is now to be implemented in a product. The project is based on the idea of the biosensors "Snifits" for the simple measurement of various metabolites in the blood. Kai Johnsson, Director of the Department of Chemical Biology at the MPI for Medical Research, and colleagues demonstrated their use in 2018 in the journal Science (Link press release): A droplet of blood is first taken from the patient through a painless finger pick. In a second step, a fraction of the blood sample is added to a reaction buffer and applied onto a paper containing the immobilized biosensor. Depending on the concentration of the metabolite, the light emitted by the sensor changes its color from blue to red, which can be detected by a simple digital camera or a smartphone.
Bundling of competences
For the development of a portable device on this technical basis, the scientists of the MPI for Medical Research have now teamed up with colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) and for Applied Optics and Precision Mechanics (IOF). "We have the expertise for the required optimization of the biosensors, but we rely on experts from other fields to make the sensor usable in an automated measuring device," says Dr. Corentin Gondrand, postdoctoral researcher at the MPI for Medical Research and project coordinator. The group around Dr. Dirk Kuhlmeier at the IZI brings the expertise in the field of microfluidics for diagnostic applications. They will be working on how to dilute the blood sample and apply it to a custom-made disposable chip for measurement in the device. The group of Dr. Norbert Danz at IOF will focus on the development of the optical tools for measuring the intensity of the biosensor on the chip.