Project outline

Patients with the same disease can respond differently to the same medicine. To reduce the level of ‘trial and error’ in the treatment, prescription of drugs is increasingly accompanied by diagnostic testing to monitor the efficacy and safety of the treatment. BioCDx aims to develop a disruptive companion diagnostic device for early cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring. One of the scientific breakthroughs of this project is the development of a detection platform for cancer stem cells, the most aggressive/tumorigenic cell type in tumors. BioCDx will rely on ultrasensitive, photonic elements based on an array of photonic biosensors. A nanoparticle-enhanced sandwich assay will be developed to detect circulating proteins, bringing the limit of detection to the femtomolar range. The detection platform will be integrated into a portable, desktop device and validated for three cancer types: breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma.


The developed detection platform is based on an integrated optical biosensor using Si3N4/SiO2 waveguide technology. Different sensor designs can be made based on this technology, including microring resonators (MRR) and Mach-Zehnder interferometers (MZI). Recently, it was found that introducing an asymmetry between the two arms of an MZI improves the sensitivity of the device. In BioCDx, the design of the asymmetric MZI will be optimized for maximum sensor performance.

To further enhance the sensitivity and limit of detection, Surfix’s nanocoatings will be used for material selective (bio)functionalization of the aMZI biosensor. Application-specific nanocoatings are developed to optimize the coating properties to obtain the highest sensitivity for detecting cancer stem cells.