Real-Time Monitoring of a Protein Biomarker

ACS Sens. 2020 Jul 24;5(7):1877-1881. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c01085. Epub 2020 Jul 13.


The ability to monitor protein biomarkers continuously and in real-time would significantly advance the precision of medicine. Current protein-detection techniques, however, including ELISA and lateral flow assays, provide only time-delayed, single-time-point measurements, limiting their ability to guide prompt responses to rapidly evolving, life-threatening conditions. In response, here we present an electrochemical aptamer-based sensor (EAB) that supports high-frequency, real-time biomarker measurements. Specifically, we have developed an electrochemical, aptamer-based (EAB) sensor against Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL), a protein that, if present in urine at levels above a threshold value, is indicative of acute renal/kidney injury (AKI). When deployed inside a urinary catheter, the resulting reagentless, wash-free sensor supports real-time, high-frequency monitoring of clinically relevant NGAL concentrations over the course of hours. By providing an "early warning system", the ability to measure levels of diagnostically relevant proteins such as NGAL in real-time could fundamentally change how we detect, monitor, and treat many important diseases.

Keywords: acute kidney injury; aptamer; electrochemical sensor; neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; real-time protein monitoring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / diagnosis
  • Biomarkers*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Lipocalin-2


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipocalin-2