(19)
(11)EP 3 726 217 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 20169514.5

(22)Date of filing:  15.04.2020
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01N 33/543(2006.01)
G01N 21/64(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 18.04.2019 CH 5412019

(71)Applicant: Schawaller, Manfred
1700 Fribourg (CH)

(72)Inventor:
  • Schawaller, Manfred
    1700 Fribourg (CH)

(74)Representative: P&TS SA (AG, Ltd.) 
Avenue J.-J. Rousseau 4 P.O. Box 2848
2001 Neuchâtel
2001 Neuchâtel (CH)

  


(54)EVANESCENCE BIOSENSOR OPTIMISATION


(57) The present invention related to a device adapted to detect the presence of fluorescent complexes of tested molecules and ligands at an emitted wavelength, wherein the emitted light is attenuated at the wavelength of this emitted light. The device according to the invention comprises to this end one or several optical filters having specific orientations with regard to the optical pathway.
The present invention also includes a diagnostic method using the device above-mentioned.




Description

Technical domain



[0001] The present invention concerns a test method and a test device, adapted for diagnoses. In particular it relates to immunoassay having an improved sensitivity compared to the known immunoassays.

Related art



[0002] Examining human blood for specific markers is a commonly used method supporting medical diagnoses. A blood sample is taken from the patient and then assayed in a laboratory for the presence or absence of a diagnostic marker or a quantification of a marker. To distinguish from - in vivo - diagnostic procedures done on the patient him/herself laboratory tests are known as in vitro diagnostics commonly abbreviated as IVD. A commonly used technology of IVD tests is ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay) used to determine numerous markers in biological fluids and as such supporting a medical diagnosis. The ELISA and related technologies are in widespread use. All ELISA use a solid well of about 200 microliter volume to examine a patient sample. These well are made from organic polymer such as polystyrene by an injection molding process.

[0003] Typical assay formats used for immunological ELISA-assays are sandwich assays, competitive assays or antibody assays. A sandwich assay uses two ligands, usually a pair of antibodies both specific for the protein to be measured, examples are tests for Beta Human Chrionic Gonadotropin, beta HCG, other hormones such a Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), the infection markers C-Reactive Protein CRP or Procalcitonin PCT, marker proteins for heart attack such as Troponin I und Troponin T or Myoglobin.

[0004] Further well know analytes are low molecular weight compounds like steroids, drugs, drug of abuse or vitamins. The assays are then designed as competitive assays.

[0005] Antibody assays are for example the detection of anti viral antibodies, directed against proteins of viruses such as HIV, HBV of HCV, or the anti bacterial or anti parasite antibodies. Furthermore antibody tests are used for the measurement of auto immune antibodies or allergy related IgE.

[0006] The principles of different ELISA formats are comparable. One Ligand is bound to the inside of an ELISA well. A second ligand is in solution and can react with the bound ligand or with an analyte that has bound to the immobilised ligand. For an ELISA the ligand in solution is covalently coupled to an enzyme such as horseradish peroxidise or alkaline phosphatase

[0007] Diffusion makes the labelled ligand in solution to move to the well surfaces and reacts with the surface bound ligand. A typical assay is done that after a certain time of reaction, 30-120min, the analyte solution with excess labelled ligand is removed and the well are washed with a buffer solution.

[0008] The bound ligand-enzyme conjugate bound to the well is measure by reacting it with a suitable chromogenic substrate giving a coloured product suitable for quantitation.

[0009] Advantages of ELISA are a high sensitivity and specificity. The analytical detection limits are given by the ligands and their affinities. An important component for the quality are the compositions of the buffers used and analytes in the range from 10exp-6 mol/L and 10exp-12 mol/L can be measured, in exceptional case detection limits of 10exp-13 mol/L have been reached. Taken all advantages of ELISA so is the need for numerous working steps a disadvantage. Several pipetting and washing steps to remove excess unbound ligands are required and the time-to-result is typically in the range of hours before a result can be read. During this time a treating doctor has to wait for a IVD result that will support or dismiss his clinical diagnosis and therefore a directed evidence base therapy is delayed

[0010] An improved method for clinical analytes is the use of biosensors. One popular method is the use of evanescence field excitation of bound analytes and detection of bound molecules in real time as described in EP1079226, EP1204856, EP1371967. Applications in for assays are described in EP2 639 584 and also for example by Schawaller et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018.

[0011] The method relates to a heterogenous immuno assay format similar to ELISA and relies on the Interaction of a surface bound ligand reacting in a non-covalent manner with at least one ligand from the solution in contact with the surface. The reaction takes place in a well produced from a solid optical transparent material such as glass or preferably made from an organic polymer such as polystyrene by injection molding. Whereas the ligand in the solution for an ELISA is labelled with an enzyme which in the development phase reveals in a quantitative manner bound enzyme and hence analyte in ELISA, the evanescence biosensor uses fluorescence detection as the measuring principle.

[0012] The ligand in solution is fluorescently labelled and when bound to the surface of the detector surface the marker is excited with a suitable light source, preferably of 635 nm wavelength, and the emitted fluorescence is continuously monitored using a dedicated instrument. The method allows the real-time continuous monitoring of a biochemical binding reaction. Several advantages come with this such as a specific excitation of bound fluorescently labelled ligand and hence analytes in the presence of excess non-bound ligand in the solution. A sensitive and quantitative result is measured typically after 10 to 20 min or in more favourable setting even less than 10 minutes time whereas an ELISA result is available only after hours.

[0013] Another advantage is that after adding the patient sample and the fluorescent second ligand no further liquid manipulation steps as in ELISA are required. Notably, washing steps and addition of enzyme substrates are not required. The method uses aqueous solutions such as PBS, neat or with additional reagents as for example detergents, surfactants, proteins or reaction enhancers. Samples to be measured can be urine saliva, serum plasma or detergent solubilised blood.

[0014] The major advantage of the technology lies in the fact that after the addition of all reagent and for the readout of the binding reaction there are all reagent in the well and the signal is measured in the presence of excess detection reagent present in the measurement well. This is unlike ELSIA where the added excess detector reagent has to be removed from the well before a detector substrate can be used to visualize the specifically bound detector agent. This is usually done by removing the excess detector reagent followed by several washing steps to remove essential all non bound detector reagent present in excess form the well. The amount of detector ligand when compared over the signal generating bound detector ligand is larger than 1. In fact, it is more than 10 folds present and can in fact be several orders of magnitude higher than the actual amount of analyte bound signal detector.

[0015] Measuring a small specific signal in the background of a large amount of excess detector in a technical challenging task and careful optimisation of reducing the non-specific signal of excess reagent remains to be solved.

Short disclosure of the invention



[0016] An aim of the present invention is the provision of a device that overcomes the shortcomings and limitations of the state of the art.

[0017] Another aim of the invention is the provision of a method allowing to detect a bound ligand in the presence of non-bound ligand.

[0018] The present invention further aims at providing a fast and reliable method, allowing to reduce the number of steps compared to the known methods.

[0019] In particular, the present method allows an optimal reduction of straylight.

[0020] According to one aspect, the present method and device allow to reduce the intensity of the excitating light that is measured in the detection unit. For example in the presented design the optical path of exciting lights is not directed directly towards the detector unit. Furthermore an aperture may limit the amount of excitation light that radiates towards the detector. Yet another suitable way to reduce the intensity of excitating light entering the detector surface is to make use of the different wavelength of excitation light EXC on the basis that the emitted fluorescent light has a different wavelength. The excitation light of 635 nm wavelength generates in when being absorbed by the fluorophore an emitted light having a different wavelength compared to the excitation light. In particular, it may have a longer wavelength. This can be favourably used to filter out the exciting photons based on the energy as a discriminator and hence as the wavelength a discriminator. This is typically achieved by using a wavelength specific filter and bandpass filters. Such bandpass filters or interference filters may be commercially readily available.

[0021] These filters are put into the emitting light beam in such a way that they are perpendicular arranged at β =90 degree angle with respect to the emitted light directed toward the detection unit. Alternatively, one or several of the optical filters are tilted at an angle different from 90°C with respect to the optical path.

[0022] The presently claimed device is adapted to detect the presence of fluorescent complexes of molecules and ligands at an emitted wavelength, said device comprises a light emitting beam adapted to irradiate the fluorescent complexes at said emitted wavelength, and a detector adapted to detect the fluorescence of the complexes. The claimed device further comprises at least one optical filter allowing to specifically absorb the wavelengths of the emitted light. The term "absorb" should be understood as partly absorb or reduce the intensity of the emitted light.

[0023] Preferably, the present clevice allows to detect the fluorescent complexes of the test molecules and bounded ligand in the presence of non-bounded fluorescent ligand. The non-bounded fluorescent ligands include the ligand remaining in the test solution or uncovalently bound on the support, at sites different from the tested molecule.

[0024] The at least one optical filter 101, 201 of the present device may be arranged so that the plane of its surface is orthogonal to the light pathway. In a preferred arrangement, the present device comprises a first optical filter, adapted to specifically absorb or attenuate the emitted light wherein said first optical filter is arranged at an angle orthogonal to the optical pathway. Alternatively, the first optical filter may be arranged so that its plan surface has an angle with regard to the light pathway larger than 10 degrees and different from 90 degrees.

[0025] The present device further comprises two or more individual optical filtering units absorbing the emitted light at the wavelength of said emitted light. These individual filtering unit may be optical filters identical to the first optical filter or different. They are preferably specific to the wavelength of the emitted light.

[0026] In a preferred embodiment, the individual filtering units, arranged in addition to the first optical filter, are oriented so that the plane of their surface is tilted with regard to the optical pathway at an angle larger than 10 degrees, preferably larger than 20 degrees, and different from 90. The individual filtering units are preferably placed after the first optical filter in the pathway of the emitted light. The individual filtering units have both a angular orientation different from the first optical filter. The orientation of each of these individual filtering units preferably differs from each other.

[0027] In particular, the tilting angles of the individual filtering unit are rotated against each other by more than 30 degrees with respect to the optical axis. More particularly, the tilting angles of the individual filtering unit are rotated against each other by more than 15 degrees and less than 180 degrees, or by more than 30 and less than 120 degrees. The tilting angles of the individual filtering units may be for example rotated against each other by an angle of 90 degrees.

[0028] The present disclosure also encompasses a method of detection of a complex of a tested molecule and a specific ligand bounded to said tested molecule. In the present method, the complex comprising the tested molecule and the ligand is immobilized on a surface. The present method thus comprises a step of immobilizing the complex of the tested molecule and its ligand. This immobilizing step may for example comprise the step of presenting a surface which contains at least one reaction partner L1 bound to the surface, followed by contacting said surface with a solution containing the molecule to be tested and a fluorescently labelled ligand L2. The fluorescently labelled ligand binds on the ligand L2 immobilized on the surface, either alone or in combination with the molecule to be tested to form a complex.

[0029] The present method includes an irradiation step, wherein the surface comprising the immobilized complex of tested molecule and its fluorescent ligand is irradiated at a predetermined wavelength. In this irradiation step, the intensity of the emitted light is attenuated by means of one or more optical filters, arranged as above-described. This irradiation step may occur without washing steps, meaning that the mixture comprising free fluorescent ligands, fluorescent ligand bounded alone on the surface and complexes of immobilized ligand and teste molecules is subject to the irradiation.

[0030] The resulting fluorescence is then detected in a detection step, using an adequate optical detector. The optical detector may be specific from the wavelength of the fluorescent complex of tested molecule and its ligand. The wavelength of the fluorescent complex of tested molecule and its ligand may be identical of the wavelength of the emitted light or different from the wavelength of the emitted light. The wavelength of the fluorescent complex of tested molecule and its ligand is preferably different from the wavelength of the emitted light which is attenuated by the device above-described.

Short description of the drawings



[0031] Exemplar embodiments of the invention are disclosed in the description and illustrated by the following drawings:
  • Figure 1 : Schematic view of the device according to the present invention;
  • Figures 2a, 2b, 2c : Schematic view of the device according to the present invention according to an embodiment;
  • Figures 3a, 3b, 3c : Schematic view of the device according to the present invention according to another embodiment;
  • Figure 4: Schematic view of the device according to the present invention according to another embodiment.

Examples of embodiments of the present invention



[0032] Fig. 1 shows the basic optical unit used. Emitted light from the biosensor device hγ EX arrives at the interference filter 101. This filters out a majority of exciting photons based on the wavelength and the light leaving the interference filter at the bottom is enriched in hγ EM light which constitutes the useful signal for the fluorescing analyte. The useful signal should be understood as the signal specific from the bounded ligand. Passing through an optional aperture 102 the light is then measured using the light detector 103. This arrangement is a functioning arrangement but further improvements are possible.

[0033] Figure 2 shows possible alternative arrangements of interference filters. Fig 2a shows a planar filter, fig 2b shows a tilted filter 202 with respect to the light beam from figure 1 and yet figure 2c shows a second tilted filter 203. The second tilted filter differs from the filter 202 rotated that is in the xy axis by 90 degrees so that the tilting axes form an angle of 90 degrees when projected onto the xy axis. The angles β and the angle α by which the filters are tilted against the xy surface can be chosen freely. Preferably α = β > 10 degree and α = β < 80 degree, most preferably α = β is between 10 and 80 degrees, more preferably between 20 and 60 degrees and even more preferably between 30 and 45 degrees.

[0034] Fig 3 shows a possible combination of 2 interference filters as shown in figure 2. The filters depicted in fig 2b designated 202 and filter 203 fig. 2c are combined to a one interference filter unit consisting of 2 filters 301 and 302. Fig 3a shows a three dimensional view of the filter arrangement. Figure 3b shows the same filter arrangement from the top view along the z axis looking down to the xy surface and fig 3c show the side of the same unit form the right side in direction x axis onto the yz surface.

[0035] Fig 4 is a three filter arrangement comprising a planar arrangement filter 401 according to figure 2a plus a second tilted filter 402 representing the subunit 202 in figure 2b plus a third tilted filter 403 representing filter subunit 203 in figure 2c.

[0036] The angle of tilt of the interference filter with respect to the xy surface, i.e. the angle of alpha α in Figure 2c respectively beta β in fig 2b has a variable values. When measuring a filter setup with α=β=30 degree as compared to a plane filter in xy-surface orientation one observes at least 2-3 fold reduction in stray light. Furthermore varying the angle of α=β=30 to is about twofold more effective in reducing the stray light when compared to a tilted filter combination with α=β=15 degrees tilt.

[0037] The device of the present disclosure is an improvement compared to a single interference filter design. In particular, it comprises more than one interference filter. At least two interference filters are used in tandem and tilted at different angles with respect to the emitted light. in such a way that their angle β is different from degree and they a tilted by about 15 to 30 degree in the axis of the tilting angle with respect to the direction of the emitted light. Furthermore when the two filters are arranged in such a way the tilting axis of filter 1 is rotated by 90 degrees with respect to the tilting angle of the filter 1. It is surprisingly observed that a combination of two filters and leads to a much improved and more effective filtering of the stray light coming from the device. Even more effective in filtering out stray light is shown in figure 4 in a combination of a planar arranges filter 401 combined with a first tilted filter 402 and combine with a second tilted and by 90 degree tilted filter 403.
Table 1
 Planar filter fig as in 2aTriple filter as in fig 4
Measurement device background 2.4117 0.0130
Sample Signal net 7.2383 0.1026
Standard deviation background 0.1723 0.0008
Signal-to-noise ( = Sample signal divided by 3 times standard deviation background) 14.0 45.3


[0038] The summary examples summarized in table 1 show a much reduced background that originates form residual excitation light derived entering the detector light. When comparing the effectiveness of blocking the triple filter unit is about 70 times more effective blocking unwanted straylight. Furthermore the variation of the background signal reduces in a similar way an allows as such to detect even very low signals from background. The same applies to the background signal which is reduced and an improvement of the Signal to noise ratio form 14.0 for the one filter device to 45.3 for the three filter device, i.e. by at least a factor of 3.


Claims

1. Device adapted to detect the presence of fluorescent complexes of molecules and ligands at an emitted wavelength, said device comprises a light emitting beam adapted to irradiate the fluorescent complexes at said emitted wavelength, and a detector adapted to detect the fluorescence of the complexes,
Characterized in that it comprises at least one optical filter allowing to specifically absorb the wavelengths of the emitted light.
 
2. Device according to claim 1 further comprising two or more individual optical filtering units reducing the exciting light on the basis of the wavelength of said light.
 
3. Device according to one of the previous claims whereby the individual filtering unit are not in a rectangular angle relative to the emitted light but are placed at an angle larger than 10 degree with respect to the optical axis.
 
4. Device according to one of the previous claims whereby the individual filtering unit are not in a rectangular angle relative to the emitted light but are placed at an angle larger than 20 degree with respect to the optical axis.
 
5. Device according to one of the previous claims whereby the individual filtering unit are not in a rectangular angle relative to the emitted light but are placed at an angle larger than 20 degree with respect to the optical axis.
 
6. Device according to one of the previous claims and the tilting angles are rotated against each other by more than 30 degrees with respect to the optical axis.
 
7. Device according to one of the previous claims and the tilting angles are rotated against each other by more than 15 and less than 180 degrees.
 
8. Device according to one of the previous claims and the tilting angles are rotated against each other by more than 30 and less than 120 degrees.
 
9. Device according to one of the previous claims and the tilting angles are rotated against each other by 90 degrees.
 
10. A method of determining the present of a tested molecule, said method comprising the steps of

- complexing the tested molecule with a fluorescent ligand and immobilizing the resulting complex of tested molecule and fluorescent ligand on a surface,

- irradiating the immobilized complex of tested molecule and fluorescent lignad with an emitted ligh at a predetermined wavelength, and

- detecting the resulting fluorescence of the complex of tested molecule and its bound fluorescent ligand,

Characterized in that the emitted light is attenuated at the wavelength of the light emission by means of at least on optical filter.
 
11. Method according to claim 10, characterized in that the irradiation and detection steps are performed by means of the device of claims 1 to 9.
 
12. method according to claims 10 or 11, characterized in that the wavelength of the emitted light differs from the wavelength of the light emitted by the complex of tested molecule and fluorescent ligand under the emitted light.
 
13. Method according to one of claims 10 to 12, characterized in that the steps of irradiating the immobilized complex of tested molecule and fluorescent ligand and detecting the resulting fluorescence of the complex of tested molecule and its bound fluorescent ligand, occurs in the presence of unbounded ligands.
 
14. method according to on of claims 10 to 13, characterized in that said method is free of washing steps.
 
15. method according to one of claims 10 to 14, characterized in that it is used as diagnostic method.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description