The exosome is considered a useful biomarker for the early diagnosis of cancer. However, pretreatment of samples used in diagnosis is time-consuming. Researchers at Kwangwoon University have fabricated a capacitance-based electrical biosensor that requires no pretreatment of the sample; it is composed of a DNA aptamer/molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) heterolayer on an interdigitated micro-gap electrode (IDMGE)/printed circuit board (PCB) system for detecting exosomes in an undiluted serum sample. The DNA aptamer detects the CD63 protein on the exosome as the biomarker, while the MoS2 nanoparticle enhances electrical sensitivity.
In this study, for the first time, the IDMGE system was used to amplify the electrical signal efficiently for exosome detection. The IDMGE amplifies the capacitance signal as the gap between electrodes decreases, making it easy to detect the target by utilizing the heightened sensitivity. Moreover, it is possible to immobilize a bio-probe more efficiently than with an electrical sensitivity–enhancing electrode with the same area. The thiol-modified (SH-) CD63 DNA aptamer was introduced as the bio-probe that selectively binds to the CD63 protein on the exosome surface. The capacitance signal from the IDMGE electrical sensor increased linearly with the increase in the concentration of exosomes in human serum expressed on a logarithmic scale, the detection limit being 2192.6 exosomes/mL. The proposed biosensor can detect exosomes in undiluted human serum with high selectivity and sensitivity. A blind test was also carried out to test the reliability of the biosensor. The capacitance-based electrical biosensor thus offers a new platform for cancer diagnosis in the future.