Monolithically integrated interferometric biochiPs for label-free earlY deTection of Human dIseAses

Duration: 01/05/2008-30/10/2011
Abstract: The PYTHIA project aims at developing a novel integrated optoelectronic biochip for the early diagnosis of diseases. These biochips are envisioned to “prophesize” potential predisposition to, or diagnose the early onset of human diseases, paving the way for advances in personalized health care. The principle of operation of the PYTHIA biochip is based on Broad-Band Mach-Zehnder Interferometry rendering it to an ultra-sensitive diagnostic tool. Its breakthrough design will make use of conventional microchip technologies while circumventing common manufacturability issues encountered so far. The final goal of the biochip is to enable the medical community to simultaneously diagnose a variety of diseases. In addition, the design includes the production of the microchip on a low-cost disposable cartridge, as well as the easy delivery of specimens and the facile contact with external low-noise electronic components. The system will be completed by a user-friendly software for ease-of-use that does not require the presence of highly-trained personnel and can be applied in any size diagnostic centre or even a privately owned praxis. The final system will have the ability to be tailored to diverse diagnostic applications and patient or population genetic profiles. The great potential and analytical breakthroughs of the proposed biochip will be demonstrated through its use in: a) Prostate cancer, a frequently occurring disease severely burdening health care systems. b) MEN2, a medical condition, linked to an inherited faulty gene (RET), demonstrating the ability of the biochip for efficient predisposition screening of population-specific genetic profiles c) Retinitis Pigmentosa (inherited diseases group causing retinal degeneration and vision loss) demonstrating substantial downgrading of the diagnostics costs of genetically complex diseases.


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