The Best of Both Worlds In Laboratory Testing
Protein biomarker testing is currently done in central laboratories. These require trained laboratory professionals and high-end equipment, time and money consuming multi-step processes, and has limited accessibility in remote rural regions.
Testing at the point-of-care is the trend and counters many of the disadvantages of central laboratory testing. Current products in the field focus on vital health, diabetes, imaging diagnostics and infectious diseases. However, no protein biomarker-based molecular diagnostic application has yet to be demonstrated. This is due to protein biomarker testing requiring detection methods at 100-1000x higher sensitivity than these other applications.
Tel-Array is able to achieve such high sensitivities using its proprietary antibody microarray technology, signal amplification techniques and optical sensing technology, and supporting technology in microfluidics and data analysis.
Testing can be done anywhere, at any time, with immediate information exchange.
Tel-Array is committed to providing the laboratory testing community with low cost, handheld devices that can be utilized with minimal training. This antibody microarray-based technology serves as a platform for a wide range of applications.
In establishing the platform, Tel-Array has selected breast cancer management as its proof-of-concept.
Cancer protein biomarkers are present in blood serum in extremely low amounts and mixed in with many other proteins. The fact that Tel-Array’s device can identify and quantify these biomarker proteins speak volumes for its sensitivity.
Monitoring of various diseases as well as detecting for a variety of non-medical molecules (such as contaminants in food and biological/chemical threats) can also be achieved.
Proprietary Antibody Microarray Technology
At the core of Tel-Array’s research and products is its proprietary antibody microarray technology, pioneered by Tel-Array co-founder and CEO, Dr. Hong Zhang.
Dr. Zhang is a co-founder of Tel-Array. He has over 20 years of research and product development experience in the fields of signal transduction, proteomics and disease biomarkers from academia and industry. During his 12 year tenure as Director of R&D at Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, he oversaw the company's research programs and pioneered the development of a suite of proteomics microarray-based screening platforms.
There are many genetic-based tests available on the market; however, gene testing is predictive whereas proteins are functional indicators of the biological state. Antibodies can determine protein levels in various mediums at high sensitivities and specificities. The standard method of antibody testing is done in central laboratories using large amounts of sample material and taking several hours to days to complete. Microarrays reduce the amount of sample needed by concentrating high amounts of antibodies spotted on a slide.
Although there are many advantages of using antibody microarrays versus the traditional methods of antibody testing, it is not widely available and to-date has only been used in research settings. This is due to the many challenges of working with proteins, namely: stability, sensitivity and specificity. The Tel-Array team has decades of experience in the study of proteins and antibody microarrays.
Multiplexing is another key advantage of antibody microarrays. This allows multiple tests to be done concurrently on the same array slide, while a separate experiment would need to be carried out for each test under the standard method. The number of concurrent tests on an array slide is only limited by its spatial arrangement and available antigens/antibodies.
Signal Amplification Techniques and Optical Sensing Technology
Antibody microarrays in research settings use large and highly sensitive instruments for detection. This is an obvious hurdle to the use of antibody microarrays at the point-of-care.
Tel-Array has developed signal amplification techniques and optical sensing technology that allows for ultra-sensitive detection within a small portable device.
Supporting Technology in Microfluidics and Data Analysis
Microfluidic technology allows the movement of Tel-Array’s chemical reagents in the microliter volume range, further supporting a miniaturized version of the standard antibody test in central laboratories.
Data analysis algorithms and automated application software are also developed for ease of use by the patient and/or medical professional with minimal training required.
Testing at the point-of-care counters many of the disadvantages of central laboratory testing. However, no protein biomarker-based molecular diagnostic application has yet to be demonstrated. This is due to protein biomarker testing requiring detection methods at 100-1000x higher sensitivity than what current point-of-care devices can achieve.
Tel-Array is able to achieve such high sensitivities using its proprietary antibody microarray technology and supporting microfluidic system.