Chemistry and Nanotechnology
Research Tools

A multi-sensor array compound – "nose" – for glycan detection (No. 1658)

Lead Researcher: Prof. David Margulies


Rapid, label free assay for glycan identification, accessible for use in medical diagnostics and biomanufacturing quality control.
While glycans hold great promise as biomarkers for several diseases including cancer, technologies that enable rapid and sensitive glycan analysis for diagnosis at “point of care” settings are not available.
Dr. Margulies and his team from the Weizmann institute of science developed an optical biosensor that is based on combinatorial detection and produces distinct optical “signatures” for even closely related glycan species.
This invention may be implemented into a single device, which will be simple to operate, to identify many types of glycans in high sensitivity for clinical diagnosis and biomanufacturing quality control processes.


  • Point of care biosensor device for routine detection of glycan biomarkers from clinical samples.

  • Quality control biosensor device for glycans biomanufacturing.
  • Advantages

  • Label free, rapid, and easy to integrate into a compact self-contained "point of care" system.

  • Highly sensitive due to the combinatorial effect.

  • A single compound identifies many analytes.

  • Ease of miniaturization for future applications.
  • Technology's Essence

    The present invention is based on a multi-sensor array compound which is composed of a non specific receptor (e.g. boronic acid), at least three chromophores and an anchor. The binding event of this compound to an analyte (i.e. carbohydrates, saccharides) is transduced into a measurable optical signature.
    The binding of different analytes distinctly affects the emission of each dye, due to direct optical responses of each dye, as well as conformational changes that affect fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) processes among them. Other photochemical processes that further contribute to the discrimination ability of this innovative compound are photo-induced electron transfer (PET) and internal charge transfer (ICT).
    The combination of these effects provides a vast number of unique optical signatures. The pattern recognizer evaluates the responses and through predetermined, programmed, or learned patterns, compares the unique pattern or signature of the measurements to stored patterns for known biomarker or chemical species.
    Finally, this design is extremely simple to operate and utilizes a single instrumentation, a single excitation wavelength, and a single incubation step, all of which enable straightforward analysis.