Correct diagnosis of disease is essential in the effort to save and improve lives. Point of care (POC) diagnostics are in-vitro tests that assist in patient diagnosis and can be used at the location of patient care. POC diagnostics are easy to use and provide near-instant readouts allowing medical providers and patients to make rapid decisions about treatment. Increased access to POC testing is especially beneficial to low-income and low resource areas that cannot afford expensive lab testing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined at least 113 diseases for which POC diagnostics are needed. Because of this, developing effective, efficient, and economical methods for creating new POC tests is essential. Work in section one of this thesis describes strategies by which new POC bio-diagnostics can be created. The use of oxidized cellulose as a vector for antibody immobilization was explored in several cellulose-based materials to provide quick, economical tests while still obtaining effective limits of detection when used to detect the pregnancy hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in a proof of concept study. The majority of these tests could detect as low as 100 ng/mL of HCG well below the clinical level necessary for detection at 2400 ng/mL. The use of a hand-powered syringe-based POC named the fast flow immunoassay (FFI) was tested for its ability to increase observable signal in a sandwich immunoassay by passing the sample through the test filter multiple times. 10 passes through the filter resulted in a signal approximately 17x more intense than a 1-hour dot-blot sandwich immunoassay. Both oxidized cotton and FFI systems can be used to develop new POC assays quickly and economically. Future use of these POC systems could help expand the availability of diagnostic testing to disadvantaged areas. Gold-based drugs have been used and investigated as medications multiple times throughout history to treat various diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, parasitic infections, and cancer. In the last few decades, gold nanoparticles have been used as drug delivery agents and catalysts for various reactions. Recently catalytic gold nanocrystals have been characterized for their ability to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Although these results were promising, much is still unknown about their mechanism of action. Section two of this thesis investigates potential molecular pathways that gold nanocrystals could be affecting, specifically the IL-6/Jak/STAT3 inflammation pathway and the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The gold nanocrystals we tested did not affect these pathways at physiologically obtainable concentrations. Additional work was done to characterize protein interactome or protein corona of gold nanocrystals. Preliminary proteomic characterization of this protein corona in fetal bovine serum (FBS) identified 118 potential interactors and classified those based on function and structure. Future work will need to be done to follow up on these identifications and to determine what mechanistic implications they may have.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences



Date Submitted


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POC diagnostics, oxidized cellulose, gold nanoparticles, protein corona