Increased level of CD44 protein in serum is observed in several cancers and is associated with tumor burden and metastasis. Current clinically used detection methods of this protein are time-consuming and use labeled reagents for analysis. Therefore exploring new label-free and fast methods for its quantification including its detection in situ is of importance. This study reports the first optical fiber biosensor for CD44 protein detection, based on a spherical fiber optic tip device. The sensor is easily fabricated from an inexpensive material (single-mode fiber widely used in telecommunication) in a fast and robust manner through a CO2 laser splicer. The fabricated sensor responded to refractive index change with a sensitivity of 95.76 dB/RIU. The spherical tip was further functionalized with anti-CD44 antibodies to develop a biosensor and each step of functionalization was verified by an atomic force microscope. The biosensor detected a target of interest with an achieved limit of detection of 17 pM with only minor signal change to two control proteins. Most importantly, concentrations tested in this work are very broad and are within the clinically relevant concentration range. Moreover, the configuration of the proposed biosensor allows its potential incorporation into an in situ system for quantitative detection of this biomarker in a clinical setting.
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