Tuesday, 14 February 2017

This chip costs a penny and is a whole laboratory capable of diagnosing tuberculosis, malaria or cancer

This chip costs a penny and is a whole laboratory capable of diagnosing tuberculosis, malaria or cancer


Within this incessant search for more efficient methods of diagnosis of diseases, we have found several projects that want to be efficient, affordable, and almost immediate response. This ultimately comes down to one thing: time, since the faster you make a diagnosis, the faster a treatment will be applied, and this could help save a lot of lives.

Rahim Esfandyarpour of Stanford University is presenting a project that precisely looks for a place in the early detection of diseases within developing countries. This project has been christened 'Lab on a chip', and yes, it is an easily printable chip capable of analyzing various samples of cells at the moment.

'Lab on a Chip'
Among the benefits of this chip is its low cost, since to manufacture each one would represent a price of less than a cent of dollar, since it only requires an ink jet printer and ink of conductive nanoparticles. Each chip consists of a camera that contains clear silicone which in turn houses a sample of test cells and a reusable electronic strip.

This chip costs a penny and is a whole laboratory capable of diagnosing tuberculosis, malaria or cancer

The electronic strip is the component that can be printed on flexible sheets of polyester. The manufacturing-printing process is about 20 minutes , and the idea is to create a large database with each of the designs for the strip, as it will depend on these designs the diagnosis that is being sought.

To make the diagnosis we only need to place a small sample of tissue on the chip, then apply an electric charge which will cause the cells to separate, exposing those with carcinogenic properties or the presence of diseases such as tuberculosis or malaria.

This 'portable laboratory' would significantly change the response to diseases within areas where it is impossible to diagnose immediately, either because there is no access to professional equipment or simply no resources. However, this chip does not seek to replace analyzes within a laboratory, but is offered as a complementary tool for early detection.

So far there is no plan for the marketing or distribution of this chip, as they are now focused on improving its operation and detection, in addition to trying to create alliances with other institutes to make the database with designs for The electronic strip grows and can be available for free for everyone.

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