In this study, fine bubbles were successfully generated and used as a simple, low-cost driving force for mixing fluids in an integrated microfluidic bead-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to rapidly and quantitatively detect apolipoprotein A1 (APOA1), a biomarker highly correlated with bladder cancer. A wooden gas diffuser was embedded underneath a microfluidic chip to refine injected air and generate bubbles of less than 0.3 mm. The rising bubbles caused disturbances and convection in the fluid, increasing the probability of analyte interaction. This setup not only simplifies the micromixer design but also achieves rapid mixing with a small airflow as a force. We used this bubble-driven micromixer in a bead-based ELISA that targeted APOA1. The results indicate that this micromixer reduced the time for each incubation from 60 min in the conventional assay to 8 min with the chip, resulting in a reduction of total ELISA reaction time from 34 h to 3040 min. Furthermore, the concentration detection limit was 9.16 ng/mL, which was lower than the detection cut-off value (11.16 ng/mL) for bladder cancer diagnosis reported in the literature. Therefore, this chip can be used to achieve rapid low-cost bladder cancer detection and may be used in point-of-care cancer monitoring.
Lin, Yen-Heng, Chia-Chu Wang, Kin Fong Lei