Researchers Fabricate Chip in Efforts to Develop Miniature Medical Lab

The scientific community have been looking for innovative ways to design disposable lab-on-a-chip products. Medical labs may not be a possibility in a variety of environments, notably in battlefields, or less developed countries, or even in some developing communities. Scientists and the medical fraternity in general are intensively focused on finding inexpensive technologies for producing disposable lab-on-a-chip devices. The efforts to engineer these devices are characterized by putting an entire lab on coin-sized chips, typically containing valves and pumps. The key to realize these efforts is to move and mix blood and other fluids through the desired micro-sized channels, with reliability and efficiency, without undue mechanical pressure. A recent study by a team of researchers from multiple disciplines at the University at Buffalo have designed a chip that can manipulate the movement of fluids including blood through the right channels. Their work is detailed in a study published on January 21 edition of the journal Lab on a Chip, which focuses on aspect of miniaturization.

Technology Advancement Prevents Reverse Flow of Fluids and Reagents

The study sheds light on a vital technical advancement in the way fluid pressure is managed. As of now, when the fluids are mixed with reagents, the different in pressure can lead to a reverse flow, thereby hindering the chemical or biological assays. The researchers tested their device using both capillary- as well as vacuum-driven force in the chip to overcome this constraint. They showed how the chip could differentiate between the eight blood types based on the differential flow pressure of the fluid by estimating the time taken by them to travel through the channel.

According to the lead author of the study, the chip can be used for a range of assays for diagnostics. Bereft of any expensive sensor or without the need for any external power source, the chip could prove to be a cost-effective way to get the assays done. The study takes the entire medical community an inch closer in developing reliable lab-on-a-chip products.