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New rapid diagnostic chip based on microfluidics invented by IBM researchers

Glass Microreactor made by Micronit Microfluidics
Image via Wikipedia reports on a  publication (December 2009 issue of Lab on a Chip) by IBM researchers about a microfluidics device that can monitor 5 ul of blood for antibodies against C-reactive protein which is released after a heart attack.  The device features an architecture that reduces bubble formation and a closed pump driven flow that allows for detection of low amounts of C-reactive protein.  The study states that the chip can detect 10 ng/ml of C-reactive protein in 3 minutes and below 1 ng/ml in 14 minutes.  The chip can easily be adapted to other antigens by changing the antibodies in the reaction chamber.

This technology has great potential for rapid, accurate and affordable diagnosis.  Future enhancements should make it   possible to add more antibodies to the same reaction chamber and thereby detect several disease antigens at the same time.  It should also be possible to perform a PCR or RT-PCR reaction which would then make it possible to detect RNA or DNA in the chamber thereby allowing the detection of living organisms faster than detecting them via antibodies.

Corresponding authors: Luc Gervais and Emmanuel Delamarche
Institution: IBM Zurich

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