We are in a feisty mood today. The Engineer Online is reporting on an EU funded SMART-BIOMEMS project that aims to develop a microchip that can do DNA analysis for clinical applications such as detecting signs of cancer in blood. This is one of the examples of pan-European cooperation that we constantly see over the wires, that never seem to make it past EU’s bureaucratic directives (in this case, “IST Programme of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) under contract number IST-016554”). It seems to us that an average 10 person startup from Silicon Valley tends to deliver results better than multinational projects run by Brussels.
Anyway, here’s what The Engineer Online proclaims about the project:
Project coordinator Gianluca Vezzani said: ‘What we are developing here is a comparatively inexpensive, easy-to-use and portable point-of-care system that will have very real clinical benefits.
‘As there are biochemical reactions occurring on the device, it has to be set up with specific reagents and biological protocols appropriate to the task at hand, and we chose cancer for the initial testing because it is such an important field.’
For the final testing of the system, the human gene TP53 will be tested in the system to identify possible cancerous mutations. The sample will be inserted into the device and the power will then be switched on to move the fluid sample within the microfluidic chip by the pressure control unit.
The results of the test will be compared to a conventional DNA procedure to check its accuracy rate. These results will be analysed by specialised software and transmitted to a standard PC.