New York, NY—July 31, 2011—Samuel K. Sia, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed an innovative strategy for an integrated microfluidic-based diagnostic device—in effect, a lab-on-a-chip—that can perform complex laboratory assays, and do so with such simplicity that these tests can be carried out in the most remote regions of the world. In a paper published in Nature Medicine online on July 31, Sia presents the first published field results on how microfluidics—the manipulation of small amounts of fluids—and nanoparticles can be successfully leveraged to produce a functional low-cost diagnostic device in extreme resource-limited settings.
Sia and his team performed testing in Rwanda over the last four years in partnership with Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and three local non-government organizations in Rwanda, targeting hundreds of patients. His device, known as mChip (mobile microfluidic chip), requires only a tiny finger prick of blood, effective even for a newborn, and gives—in less than 15 minutes—quantitative objective results that are not subject to user interpretation. This new technology significantly reduces the time between testing patients and treating them, providing medical workers in the field results that are much easier to read at a much lower cost. New low-cost diagnostics like the mChip could revolutionize medical care around the world.
The chip is expected to cost $1 and the reader device $100. Imagine the ability to plug the chip into a future generation smart phone and test yourself to find out whether you have a bacterial or viral infection. Or test yourself to find out whether your diet of late has done bad things to your blood lipids and blood sugar.
30 years from now (if not much sooner) most medical testing will be done before you show up in a doctor's office. Your data will get uploaded to a expert system diagnostic server. You will show up for a doctor's appointment for treatment when necessary. I expect in the longer run most doctors will shift their attention to delivering rejuvenation therapies rather than diagnosing common illnesses. Diagnostics expert systems running in cloud computers will do most of the work for illnesses unrelated to aging.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2011 August 01 08:05 AM Biotech Assay Tools|