Micronit cleanroom. Foto: Micronit
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Dutch start-ups and research institutes are pushing the boundaries of biosensing. Biosensing refers to technologies and methods that detect and measure biological information. We already use many biosensors. Think of diabetes patients using glucose meters to measure their blood levels, or your smartwatch measure heart rate, oxygen level and your cadence while running.

But, new biosensing innovations are hard at work in the Netherlands to improve healthcare. We list a few for you.

Why this is important:

The advance of biosensing is a sign of progress in science and technology. It enables researchers to monitor and analyze biological processes with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Recent developments in the Netherlands underscore this potential.

Delta Diagnostics

This spin-off from TNO focuses on simplifying biosensing. Delta Diagnostics’ technology uses photonic integrated circuits. This enables the company to analyze multiple biomolecules simultaneously, a process known as multiplexing. This method is cost-effective and accelerates research in the life sciences by allowing one to detect multiple biomolecules simultaneously.

DNA origami at TU Delft

Researchers at TU Delft are working on variable nanopores using DNA origami. This technique can be used for targeted drug delivery and synthetic cell research. These nanopores serve as communication channels in the cell wall, letting nutrients in, wastes out, and signaling molecules through. The revolutionary aspect of this technology is that the size of the nanopores is adjustable, making them more effective in detecting biomolecules.

TU Delft is committed to speeding up the switching process of the nanopores, which currently takes several minutes. The ambition is to be able to detect even a single DNA molecule with this technique. Such sensitivity would be a breakthrough for medical diagnostics and treatments.

Early detection of cancer with new imaging technology

Eindhoven-based Scinvivo is developing endoscopic imaging technologies that could help detect cancer and other diseases early using advanced biosensing methods. Earlier this year, the company raised an investment of €4.7 million.

Scinvivo aims to make cancer diagnostics faster and more accurate, reducing the need for unnecessary surgery and improving patients’ quality of life. The startup is developing imaging catheters based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) that allow doctors to view high-resolution cross-sectional images of tissue and see what is happening inside the bladder wall. According to the company, this approach enables more precise minimally invasive surgery and significantly improves cancer diagnosis, resulting in personalized treatment. Bladder cancer has been chosen as the first area for the imaging platform.

Micronit grew into global player for microchips

Micronit develops microfluidic chips and sensors used in healthcare and diagnostics. The company from Enschede has grown over the years into a world player in the market for microchips, specifically “microfluidic chips. These are used in hospitals and laboratories around the world, including for cancer research and, more recently, for COVID-19 research.