Li PatentFebruary 8, 2016- Department of Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor, Chenzhong Li, was granted a U.S. patent for the invention “Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Based Sensing Devices and Methods for Real-time Analyte Secretion from Living Cells.” Li’s patent introduces new methods for the use of SPR technology that has the potential to change the ways clinicians diagnose and treat certain forms of cancer.

Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) based biosensing technology is a commonly used tool in biorecognition measurements and has drawn substantial research interest in the past decade. This technique has been used for biomarker detection since it is sensitive, fast, and realtime. Previously established SPR based sensing platforms have been limited to detection of analyte in a prepared sample. This requires collection of analytes from the cell culture media, purification, and pretreatment of analytes for the purpose of cellular exocytosis and cellular signaling pathway studies. These redundant steps are time consuming, and also introduce unpredictable errors to the experiments.

To overcome these limitations, Li discovered an alternative method for direct measurement of secretions from living cells. Among all types of secretions, biomarkers are the most significant ones for clinical, medical, and biomedical applications. Protein biomarkers are widely involved in the development of many types of cancer. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a widely studied angiogenic signal protein biomarker. Real-time, direct measurements of VEGF from carcinoma cells are required to understand its metabolism and drug development. The FIU invention is a new concept of an in situ SPR biosensing system for realtime VEGF secretion study. A mini cell culture module has been integrated to the SPR system. Unlike the traditional configuration of SPR systems for biomarker detection, living cells are cultured in a customized SPR flow cell chamber, and biomarker secretion from the cells is rapidly monitored by an immune SPR sensing device. As a model system, SKOV-3 ovarian cancer cell line was used to demonstrate VEGF secretion live time measurement. Since the novel biosensor mimics the in vivo microenvironment of the biomarker signaling pathway, this platform possesses great potential on cellular signaling pathway studies and antineoplastic drug development.

For more information on Dr. Li’s patent, please visit,207,173&OS=9,207,173&RS=9,207,173

Special Thanks to Dr. Shanatu Balkundi for his contribution to writing this article.