Label-Free Aptamer-Fluorophore Assembly for Rapid and Specific Detection of Cocaine in Biofluids

A simple, fast, sensitive, and specific approach to detecting cocaine in biofluids.

TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY

Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing a business partner interested in developing and commercializing Label-Free Aptamer-Fluorophore Assembly for Rapid and Specific Detection of Cocaine in Biofluids. FIU inventors have created a rapid and specific target-displaced, aptamer-based method for one-step cocaine detection with minimal reagent requirement. The discovery of the interaction between the ATMND molecule and the cocaine-binding aptamer, 38-GC, has called for the design of a unique sensor that has not been previously described in literature. The new sensor platform relies on the displacement of ATMND from the 38-GC aptamer by cocaine through competitive binding. The 38-GC aptamer was engineered through the introduction of sequence changes into the MNS-4.1 and exhibits higher affinity to both ligands while reducing background signals and increasing signal gain. Through successful testing, the sensor has demonstrated detection of cocaine within seconds at concentrations as low as 200 nM, which is 50-fold lower than the assays based on target-induced conformational change. Moreover, signal gain reportedly increased with the increase of cocaine concentration, reaching a limit of detection of 10.4 µM, 18.4 µM, and 36 µM in undiluted saliva, urine, and serum samples respectively. The label-free detection is performed at room temperature in a single tube containing the aptamer-ATMND complex and the sample of interest. In contrast, antibody-based screens often suffer from poor specificity, and existing aptamer-based detection generally rely on polymerase amplification, enzymes or enzyme-linked assays to achieve sensitive cocaine detection at low nanomolar concentrations. Preparation for these multi-step assays is complex and usually requires at least several hours.

We are looking for a business partner to further develop and commercialize the Label-Free Aptamer-Fluorophore Assembly as a viable alternative to commercially available techniques and to exploit its scientific and business potential as a simple, quick, sensitive, and specific approach to detecting cocaine in biofluids.

APPLICATIONS

This approach offers a general aptamer-based framework for sensitive, specific and high-throughput on-site drug testing.

ADVANTAGES
  • Able to detect cocaine within seconds at concentrations as low as 200 nM.
  • One-step, label-free method of preparation is quick and simple
  • Aptamer-based detection results in high specificity
CONTACT

For additional information about this technology opportunity, please contact Elizabeth Garami at egarami@fiu.edu or by phone at 305-348-0008 and ask about record IP 1426.