Point of Care Biomarkers

Improving regenerative cardiovascular care with innovative point-of-care measuring instrument

The measurement of activated platelets using photonics

About 25% of annual deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease. Being able to better predict, prevent, diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease will make a significant difference to the health of individual patients, but also to the burden on the healthcare system and overall public health. Cardiovascular care is also important for other patient populations, such as covid-19 patients, to prevent their health condition from deteriorating.

Combination of clinical and scientific top in the field of cardiovascular disease and regenerative medicine combined with specialist innovative SMEs

The absolute clinical and scientific top in the field of cardiovascular disease and regenerative medicine (including Maastricht University and the St Antonius hospital in Nieuwegein) are working in this project with specialist innovative SMEs in the South of the Netherlands and at the Brightlands Health Campus in Maastricht. During this project, scientific knowledge and insights in the field of regenerative medicine and cardiovascular disease will be valorised through the further development and realisation of a market/production-ready groundbreaking, innovative measuring device.

Improved cardiovascular prediction, prevention, diagnosis and personalised treatment

This project marks the kick-off of an international transition towards improved cardiovascular care at all levels: significantly improved prediction, prevention, diagnosis, personalised treatment and, of course, regenerative medicine. Dr. Spronk from UM states: “if this technology is widely used, we can prevent between 25 and 50% of all heart attacks alone”. The ultimate health gain is even many times greater by enabling regeneration of heart tissue and personalised treatment.

Point of Care Medical device measuring activated platelets using photonics

PC200 point of care measurement device ready for impact

The PC200 can easily map the activation and characteristics of platelets in the patient directly at a patient’s bedside within 20 minutes and with 1 drop of blood. This point-of-care measuring instrument has been developed by involved partners in recent years and tested on a lab scale. During this project, the market-oriented consortium i.c.w. end-users optimize, validate and demonstrate the PC200 in practice and prepare it for production and market introduction.

The unmet need of the PC200

The predictive value of platelet activity is enormous, but is currently not being exploited due to a global lack of technology to measure the biomarkers involved in an accessible and reliable manner. Instead of a 2-day, expensive and error-prone analysis by highly trained personnel in a central specialist lab, the PC200 provides every healthcare provider with the necessary information within 20 minutes to make a well-founded estimate of the treatment required for the patient in question.

Potential application areas

This device will make a difference in:

  • Promoting regeneration of damaged heart tissue in both in vivo and ex vivo settings.
  • The treatment of acute cardiovascular problems by cardiologists, neurologists and other vascular specialists in the hospital.
  • It will provide substantiation for whether or not to administer antithrombotic agents to a specific patient.
  • It will facilitate drug testing for cardiovascular diseases by pharmaceutical companies, which will reduce the costs of drug development.
  • It will improve diagnosis and risk assessment of people with chest pain by paramedics or GPs.
  • It will improve the monitoring of risk groups by the GP through periodic testing.
  • And last-but-not-least, it will collect large amounts of data that will provide new insights for further improved care in the future.
photonics point of care fluorescence measurement

Biomarkers – platelets as biomarkers for cardiovascular disease

The development of a point-of-care biomarker counter is a breakthrough in medical technology, making it possible for the first time in history to measure platelet activity quickly, easily and at low cost.

Piont-of-Care biomarker counter

Prediction Of An Approaching Heart Attack, Thrombosis Or Stroke

Activated platelets and specific coagulation factors can be a prediction of an approaching heart attack, thrombosis or stroke, however, no device is available worldwide to measure this in an affordable and accessible manner.

Point Of Care Medical Device for counting of Activated platelets

Within current state of art technology, platelet activity can only be measured in a few highly specialised laboratories by technically highly trained lab technicians, while the costs are very high and the research takes 1-2 days. In this way the available knowledge that platelet activity is a predictor of heart attacks and strokes can be insufficiently exploited, which is a missed opportunity in cardiovascular health care. The intended development in this project will be developed as a point-of-care tool.

Biomarkers - Platelets as biomarkers for cardiovascular disease
Point of care activated platelet counter
activated platelets

Target: results in 20 minutes

The device can be operated by, for example, a general practitioner’s assistant, requires only a drop of blood and gives the result in 20 minutes.

High-tech photonics – fluorescence measurement

Through experimental development, this project will develop a point-of-care measuring instrument using biochemical techniques (labelling of specific biomarkers in blood) in combination with high-tech photonics techniques (fluorescence measurement). The biomarkers are specifically developed for the early diagnosis (prevention) of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

Testing and validation

The intended development will be tested and validated during the project in order to have a prototype measuring instrument at the end of the project that can be introduced on the market after passing the last mandatory tests and certifications. To put it in the words of Dr. Spronk of Maastricht University: “if this technology is widely used, we can see between 25 and 50% of all heart attacks coming and intervene on time”.


The development involves an affordable and reliable measurement method, which can be applied in point-of-care instruments, focusing specifically on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, thrombosis and strokes). This is technically very complicated, because very small amounts of the substance to be detected in a blood sample must be accurately measured.

The innovations in the biomarker project covers two areas:

The photonic (optical) measurement of biomarkers (activated platelets and specially developed plastic beads) in blood samples, and this in very low concentrations.

The development of biochemical reagents and plastic beads that can make certain biomarkers fluorescent and thus optically measurable, aimed at biomarkers that predict cardiovascular abnormalities.

Biomarkers for cardiovascular disease
Biomarkers for cardiovascular disease

This project was made possible by a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund as part of OP-Zuid as well as the Provincie Noord-Brabant’. For more information see EFRO.