In an office park in Woburn, MA, a volunteer presents his fingertip for a quick finger stick. A phlebotomist wicks up the small drop of blood with a specially made square of plastic, then snaps the plastic into a credit-card sized microfluidics cartridge and feeds it into a special reader. Fifteen minutes later, the device spits out the volunteer's prostate specific antigen (PSA) level, a protein used to monitor the return of prostate cancer after treatment.
Microfluidics will move many lab tests to doctors' offices.
The rapid results are possible because of a novel microfluidics technology developed by startup Claros Diagnostics, which hopes to make quick PSA screening in the doctor's office a reality.
In the longer run microfluidic testing will move to the home and office. Why have to go anywhere to get tested? I see a future where your own house will have biomedical sensors embedded in it that do continuous monitoring for early indicators of health problems.
How big of a regulatory obstacle stands in the way of drug stores providing walk-in blood testing and other testing services? One shouldn't have to see a doctor in order to get screened for cholesterol, blood sugar, and other commonly used tests.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness, and without constant vigilance it can prove a very difficult disease to manage. But a Swiss biotech company has developed a monitoring system that allows physicians to keep track of their patients' symptoms over 24 hours. Sensimed's "Triggerfish" system consists of a contact lens with embedded sensors that can pick up subtle physical changes in a patient's eye, and then wirelessly transmit that data to a receiver worn around his neck.
Imagine a watch or perhaps your cell phone alerting you when an embedded miniature blood sensor reports you've eaten too much junk food. Worn, surgically embedded, and injected sensors will become very popular due to their ability to provide lab test results at a moment's notice.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 March 30 11:21 PM Biotech Assay Tools|