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Direct measure of telomerase’s activity

BioelectronicsBiosensorsLab-on-chipliquid biopsyTelomerase


The invention consists in a method to measure directly, by means of a low-cost, easy-to-use, high yield electronic device, the activity of an enzyme involved in cell senescence. Even if all the cells express such enzyme, tumor cell express it in larger amounts thus becoming immortal. The device is, therefore, useful for diagnostic purposes.

Technical features

The invention proposes a technology for monitoring, in real time, the activity of telomerase, an enzyme involved in the process of cell senescence. Differently from what happens with current techniques, the approach allows to have immediate and already digitized results. The measurement is based on the ability to detect, through a suitably modified transistor, the lengthening of DNA strands caused by the action of the enzyme. Since the filament is electrically charged, its elongation causes a change in the transistor current and can therefore be digitized. The structure is very simple and takes full advantage of the miniaturization of the transistors, allowing to create on a tiny chip tens / hundreds of active sites, or to realize the device through the innovative techniques of organic electronics at very low production costs.

Possible Applications

  • Liquid biopsy;
  • Diagnosis of tumors from blood analysis;
  • Development of low-cost diagnostic kits;
  • Study of anti-tumor drugs;
  • Electronic DNA sequencing.


  • Real-time measure;
  • Electronic detection immediately available in digital format;
  • Dramatic reduction in the amount of reagents;
  • Measure of very limited amount of analyte;
  • Low manufacturing cost;
  • Easy to use;
  • Full automation of the measurement process.