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 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 12 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.