Experts developed an inexpensive 'lab on a chip' technology, which can transform the diagnostic process all over the world. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine produced this cheap and reusable diagnostic chip with the help of an ordinary inkjet printer.
The chip consists of a flexible sheet of polyester with commercially available conductive nanoparticle ink (c) med.stanford.edu
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details how this mini lab can change the medical world, which only costs as low as 1 cent per chip. This cheap and reliable diagnostic tool could help people, especially those living in poor countries, to have an immediate access for detecting disease that's also affordable.
“Enabling early detection of diseases is one of the greatest opportunities we have for developing effective treatments,” lead author is Rahim Esfandyarpour, PhD, an engineering research associate at the genome center told the Stanford University
. “Maybe $1 in the U.S. doesn’t count that much, but somewhere in the developing world, it’s a lot of money.”
The'lab on a chip' is a two-part system. It's a combination of microfluidics, electronics and inkjet printing technology. The first part is a clear silicone microfluidic chamber for housing cells and a reusable electronic strip. While the second part is a regular inkjet printer that can be used to print the electronic strip onto a flexible sheet of polyester using commercially available conductive nanoparticle ink.
Rahim Esfandyarpour helped to develop a diagnostic "lab on a chip" for just a penny. (c) med.stanford.edu
“We designed it to eliminate the need for clean-room facilities and trained personnel to fabricate such a device,” said Esfandyarpour, an electrical engineer by training. A single chip can be produced in about 20 minutes, he said.
One of the chip's applications is that it allows users to analyze different cell types without using fluorescent or magnetic labels that are typically required to track cells. The device will also accelerate basic and applied research in lab tests.
“The genome project has changed the way an awful lot of medicine is done, and we want to continue that with all sorts of other technology that are just really inexpensive and accessible,” senior author Ron Davis, PhD, professor of biochemistry and of genetics and director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center said in a statement.