A lab-in-a-briefcase for rapid prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening from whole blood†
We present a new concept for rapid and fully portable prostate specific antigen (PSA) measurements, termed “lab-in-a-briefcase”, which integrates an affordable microfluidic ELISA platform utilising a melt-extruded fluoropolymer microcapillary film (MCF) containing an array of 10 200 μm internal diameter capillaries, a disposable multi-syringe aspirator (MSA), a sample tray pre-loaded with all of the required immunoassay reagents, and a portable film scanner for colorimetric signal digital quantification. Each MSA can perform 10 replicate microfluidic immunoassays on 8 samples, allowing 80 measurements to be made in less than 15 minutes based on semi-automated operation, without the need of additional fluid handling equipment. The assay was optimised for the measurement of a clinically relevant range of PSA of 0.9 to 60.0 ng ml−1 in 15 minutes with CVs on the order of 5% based on intra-assay variability when read using a consumer flatbed film scanner. The PSA assay performance in the MSA remained robust in undiluted or 1 : 2 diluted human serum or whole blood, and the matrix effect could simply be overcome by extending sample incubation times. The PSA “lab-in-a-briefcase” is particularly suited to a low-resource health setting, where diagnostic labs and automated immunoassay systems are not accessible, by allowing PSA measurement outside the laboratory using affordable equipment.