The cantilever-based BioMEMS sensor represents one instance from many competing ideas of biosensor technology based on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. The advancement of BioMEMS from laboratory - scale experiments to applications in the field will require standardization of their components and manufacturing procedures as well as frameworks to evaluate their performance.
Reliability, the likelihood with which a system performs its intended task, is a compact mathematical description of its performance. The mathematical and statistical foundation of systems-reliability has been applied to the cantilever-based BioMEMS sensor. The sensor is designed to detect one aspect of human ovarian cancer, namely the over-expression of the folate receptor surface protein (FR – α). Even as the application chosen is clinically motivated, the objective of this study was to demonstrate the underlying systems-based methodology used to design, develop and evaluate the sensor. The framework development can be readily extended to other BioMEMS-based devices for disease detection and will have an impact in the rapidly growing $30 bn industry.
The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a systems-based framework for design and development of object-oriented information systems which has potential application for use in systems designed to interact with biological environments. The UML has been used to abstract and describe the application of the biosensor, to identify key components of the biosensor, and the technology needed to link them together in a coherent manner. The use of the framework is also demonstrated in computation of system reliability from first principles as a function of the structure and materials of the biosensor.
The outcomes of applying the systems-based framework to the study are the following:
Characterizing the cantilever-based MEMS device for disease (cell) detection.
Development of a novel chemical interface between the analyte and the sensor that provides a degree of selectivity towards the disease.
Demonstrating the performance and measuring the reliability of the biosensor prototype, and
Identification of opportunities in technological development in order to further refine the proposed biosensor.
Application of the methodology to design develop and evaluate the reliability of BioMEMS devices will be beneficial in the streamlining the growth of the BioMEMS industry, while providing a decision-support tool in comparing and adopting suitable technologies from available competing options.