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Semiconductor Electronic Label-Free Assay for Predictive Toxicology

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While animal experimentations have spearheaded numerous breakthroughs in biomedicine, they also have spawned many logistical concerns in providing toxicity screening for copious new materials. Their prioritization is premised on performing cellular-level screening in vitro. Among the screening assays, secretomic assay with high sensitivity, analytical throughput, and simplicity is of prime importance. Here, we build on the over 3-decade-long progress on transistor biosensing and develop the holistic assay platform and procedure called semiconductor electronic label-free assay (SELFA). We demonstrate that SELFA, which incorporates an amplifying nanowire field-effect transistor biosensor, is able to offer superior sensitivity, similar selectivity, and shorter turnaround time compared to standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We deploy SELFA secretomics to predict the inflammatory potential of eleven engineered nanomaterials in vitro, and validate the results with confocal microscopy in vitro and confirmatory animal experiment in vivo. This work provides a foundation for high-sensitivity label-free assay utility in predictive toxicology.

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