Vortex enhanced liquid chromatography for HbA1c monitoring based diabetes management in a globalized setting


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Evangelos Gogolides







Diabetes is one of the main health risks today with near pandemic dimension, causing blindness, kidney failures, stroke, heart attack, giving rise to very high health care costs (25% in the US) and reducing the quality of life of around 500 million people worldwide. The level of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is used to assess long-term glycemic control and is the best predictor for the risk of developing chronic complication of diabetes and appropriate follow up of the patients. The golden standard is an expert laboratory HPLC method focusing on HbA1c quantification, which has limitations when other relevant hemoglobin variants are to be detected. For approximately 7 % of the world’s population which are carriers of such hemoglobin variants current methods lead to under-, over- or non-estimation of the HbA1c fraction. VortexLC aims to develop a cheap point of care device to improve the quality of the analysis and give an instant full picture of the health status of diabetes patients. The use of vortex flows renders the approach compatible with mass manufacturing of plastic pillar array columns, that are not only much cheaper than commonly used packed bed columns, but wherein also higher separation performances can be obtained. The polymer columns will be fabricated using UV nanoimprint lithography, plasma technology to make them porous and add a chromatographic coating, and lamination to close the column, all processes that can be scaled to roll-to-roll industrial manufacturing. The columns will be embedded in an instrument that allows for integrated sample preparation and miniaturized UV absorption and SERS detection, allowing for both quantification and identification of analytes. In the project a low footprint demonstrator of the novel system and columns will be built and tested with first synthetic, next human blood samples to quantify Hb1Ac and its genetic variants.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon EIC Pathfinder Open 2021 under the grant agreement ID 101047029.

The project combines the expertise of 6 European partners: three groups from Vrije Universiteit Brussels: µFlow, B-PHOT and Laboratory of Hematology and Clinical Chemistry, together with Joanneum Research in Austria, National Center for Scientific Research Demokritos in Greece, and the French company CPI.

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