MIT develops microfluidic chips that detect viruses in blood & toxins in water

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    Apr 01, 2012 2:02 AM GMT
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/manufacturing-polymer-microfabrication-0329.html

    In the not-too-distant future, plastic chips the size of flash cards may quickly and accurately diagnose diseases such as AIDS and cancer, as well as detect toxins and pathogens in the environment. Such lab-on-a-chip technology — known as microfluidics — works by flowing fluid such as blood through microscopic channels etched into a polymer’s surface. Scientists have devised ways to manipulate the flow at micro- and nanoscales to detect certain molecules or markers that signal disease.

    Microfluidic devices have the potential to be fast, cheap and portable diagnostic tools. But for the most part, the technology hasn’t yet made it to the marketplace. While scientists have made successful prototypes in the laboratory, microfluidic devices — particularly for clinical use — have yet to be manufactured on a wider scale.

    MIT's David Hardt is working to move microfluidics from the lab to the factory. Hardt heads the Center for Polymer Microfabrication — a multidisciplinary research group funded by the Singapore-MIT Alliance — which is designing manufacturing processes for microfluidics from the ground up. The group is analyzing the behavior of polymers under factory conditions, building new tools and machines to make polymer-based chips at production levels, and designing quality-control processes to check a chip’s integrity at submicron scales — all while minimizing the cost of manufacturing.
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    Apr 01, 2012 5:14 AM GMT
    I've heard of these before. I wonder if they're any more accurate than conventional testing, which isn't always very accurate.
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    Apr 01, 2012 5:43 AM GMT
    Just another press release from another "me too" guy who doesn't understand the application.
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    Apr 01, 2012 8:04 AM GMT
    There is some really exciting technology being used in labs that has great clinical application. Unfortunately, when I go to work I feel like I'm still in the cold war icon_razz.gif

    It takes SO long for these things to infiltrate the market, partly because of politics of medicine but mostly because of costs.

    There's some really exciting non-invasive technology that can assess basic labs just by putting your hand in it. For Emergency Medicine that would be a massive improvement on patient wait times, critical patients and those that are difficult to get blood from. And yeah, people afraid of needles.

    I joke with the doctors that one day there will just be an app for everything and IT guys will get paid more than clinicians icon_razz.gif
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    Apr 01, 2012 8:32 AM GMT
    adam228 said

    It takes SO long for these things to infiltrate the market, partly because of politics of medicine but mostly because of costs.


    So true
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    Apr 03, 2012 1:10 PM GMT
    CuandoLloranLasPalomas saidWe need one of those gadgets they use on Star Trek to diagnose disease.

    We finally caught up to the days of Star Trek!!

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSulKwX84sgiBX_TrJ4jgI


    Then you should check this out:
    http://www.xprize.org/x-prize-and-qualcomm-announce-10-million-tricorder-prize