Lab-on-chips are the future of clinical diagnostics. They’ve been covered extensively here on Medgadget, and it’ll be only a matter of time before they become commonplace in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics.
Engineers at the University of Rhode Island have developed a lab-on-chip device to detect C-reactive proteins (CRP) in the blood, which might help doctors assess the risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases:
With the new lab-on-a-chip technology, a drop of blood is placed on a plastic polymer cartridge smaller than a credit card and inserted into a shoebox-sized biosensor containing a miniature spectrometer and piezoelectric micro-pump. The blood travels through the cartridge in tiny channels 500 microns wide to a detection site where it reacts with preloaded reagents enabling the sensor to detect certain biomarkers of disease.
Faghri [Mohammad Faghri, URI mechanical engineering professor] also envisions a further miniaturization of the invention that can be adapted as a smartphone application. By embedding the biosensor in the cartridge and using the computer power of the phone, as well as its wireless communication capabilities, Faghri believes that patients may be able to conduct the tests themselves and have the results transmitted immediately to their doctor’s office via their phone. Among many other benefits, this should help to significantly reduce health care costs.
Link @ University of Rhode Island: URI engineering team invents lab-on-a-chip for fast, inexpensive blood tests…