A new gold test strip may help in early detection of certain heart attacks as a team of researchers are working on the strip, which has shown high potential for it.
Researchers from New York University’s (NYU) school of engineering and Peking University in Beijing, China are developing the strip to test for cardiac troponin I (cTn-I) detection. The cTn-I level is several thousand times higher in patients experiencing myochardial infarctions.
However, cTn-I is a specific marker for myocardial infarction. The early detection of cTn-I is, therefore, a key factor of heart attack diagnosis and therapy. The new strip uses microplasma-generated gold nanoparticles.
Meanwhile, when compared to AuNPs produced by traditional chemical methods, the surfaces of these nanoparticles attract more antibodies, which results in significantly higher detection sensitivity.
The microplasma-assisted synthesis of AuNPs has great potential for other biomedical and therapeutic applications such as tumor detection, cancer imaging, drug delivery, and treatment of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The new cTn-I test is based on the specific immune-chemical reactions between antigen and antibody on immunochromatographic test strips using AuNPs.
Compared to traditional chemical methods, the surfaces of the gold nanoparticles generated by the microplasma-induced liquid chemical process attract more antibodies which results in significantly higher detection sensitivity.
Meanwhile, microplasmas have been used successfully in dental applications (improved bonding, tooth whitening, root canal disinfection), biological decontamination (inactivation of microorganisms and biofilms), and disinfection and preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The routine use of gold nanoparticles in therapy and disease detection in patients is still years away: longer for therapeutic applications and shorter for biosensors.
However, Becker said, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the fact that the synthesis of monodisperse, size-controlled gold nanoparticles, even using microplasmas, is still a costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive process, which limits their use currently to small-scale clinical studies.