A versatile organic room-temperature phosphorescence (RTP)-based "turn on" biosensor platform has been devised with high sensitivity by combining oxygen-sensitive lipid-polymer hybrid RTP nanoparticles with a signal-amplifying enzymatic oxygen scavenging reaction in aqueous solutions. When integrated with a sandwich-DNA hybridization assay on 96-well plates, our phosphorimetric sensor demonstrates sequence-specific detection of a cell-free cancer biomarker, a TP53 gene fragment, with a sub-picomolar (0.5 p.m.) detection limit. This assay is compatible with detecting cell-free nucleic acids in human urine samples. Simply by re-programming the detection probe, our unique methodology can be adapted to a broad range of biosensor applications for biomarkers of great clinical importance but difficult to detect due to their low abundance in vivo.
Keywords: Cell-free DNA detection; Enzymatic signal amplification; Lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles; Phosphorimetric assay; Purely organic room-temperature phosphorescent nanosensor.
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