This Tiny Disease-Diagnosing Microchip Only Costs A Cent To Make

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Diagnosing disease often requires analysing and detecting single cells with lab tests that cost hundreds of dollars each. Hospitals in a poor country stricken with a disease epidemic like HIV or malaria simply might not have the funds to run all of those tests. Scientists are looking for a cheaper option.

A team of Stanford researchers created what might be the cheapest, simplest solution yet: An inkjet-printed microchip that can perform multiple tests and costs only 20 minutes and one US cent to make. In case it’s not obvious, this is very cheap.

“Assembling a lab on a chip in 20 minutes for less than a penny is really a breakthrough,” Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego who was not involved in the study, told Gizmodo. “And I don’t use that word too liberally.”

Diagnostic tests generally require sorting cell types to find the diseased culprit cells, with lab equipment like bulky, spinning centrifuges, membranes or magnets. Labs-on-a-chip are an attempt to simplify the process, using droplets of liquid passed through a sensor capable of isolating and manipulating single rare cells, screening for drugs or detecting individual proteins.

Source: Gizmodo (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health, research