Research database

LIFEBLOOD - A lab-on-a-chip integrated with electrochemical transistors for cardiac biomarkers evaluation in human blood (LIFEBLOOD)

24 months (2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Nationally funded research - PRIN
Funding body:
MINISTERO (Ministero dell'Università e della Ricerca)
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:


A timely medical intervention is sometimes a matter of life and death, as in the case of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), thus making rapid diagnosis fundamental for saving patient lives. AMI is characterized by damage to the cardiac myocytes and represents one of the most severe consequences of cardiovascular diseases, a global health problem that demands a strong approach to prevention and early treatment. For many years, the traditional electrocardiogram (ECG) has been used in hospitals to diagnose the occurrence of a heart attack, but then it has been revealed to be an insufficient approach. To gain a rapid response of analysis and prevent mortality, today, there is a strong demand for the development of new diagnostic tools able to provide, in particular, the real-time detection and monitoring of biomarkers in biological fluids. Since its first identification as biomarker for AMI in the 80s, cardiac troponin (cTnI) has become the gold standard for AMI diagnosis due to its release in blood only upon direct myocardium damage. However, still to date, there is an urgent need of portable systems enabling to measure the levels of cTnI at the bedside combining sensitivity, speed and small sample volume. In this scenario, it remains crucial as well the differential diagnosis between AMI and other cardiac events, including myopericarditis. C-reactive protein (CRP), for example, is a highly specific indicator of inflammation and myocardial ischemia. The cardio/inflammation-specificity of cTnI and CRP along with their long persistence in the blood make them valuable biomarkers providing an extended diagnostic window for the detection of AMI. Therefore, CRP-cTnI ratio is an effective approach for differential diagnosis of AMI. LIFEBLOOD presents a groundbreaking approach for the real-time detection of cTnI and CRP starting from a sub-milliliter volume of human blood. This ambitious goal will be pursued through the development of an innovative lab-on-chip (LOC) platform, integrating microfluidic technology, to separate blood cells and plasma, and highly-sensitive biosensors, based on Organic Electrochemical Transistors (OECTs) gated by electrodes properly functionalized with antibodies and aptamers as recognition molecules, to detect and monitor in-line cTnI and CRP and estimate CRP-cTnI ratio for AMI diagnose. The main scientific and technological challenges will be addressed by combining a number of innovative approaches including the use of advanced micromachining techniques, the detailed analysis of various biofunctionalization patterns, the application of robust testing protocols mainly relying on differential electrical measurements, the contemporary availability of both healthy and pathological blood with known concentration of cTnI and CRP. The efforts to sustain the project objectives will be in charge of a young, dynamic and interdisciplinary research group with specific and synergistic competences in all the required fields.





ERC sectors

PE4_11 - Physical chemistry of biological systems
PE4_8 - Electrochemistry, electrodialysis, microfluidics, sensors
PE8_5 - Fluid mechanics, hydraulic-, turbo-, and piston engines

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 3. Assicurare la salute e il benessere per tutti e per tutte le età


Total cost: € 265,867.00
Total contribution: € 199,961.00
PoliTo total cost: € 77,648.00
PoliTo contribution: € 59,486.00