Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Automation & Microfluidics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Measuring Molecules with the Naked Eye

Published: Thursday, November 01, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, November 01, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Chemists’ innovation may be a better model for disease diagnostic kits.

When someone develops liver cancer, the disease introduces a very subtle difference to their bloodstream, increasing the concentration of a particular molecule by just 10 parts per billion.

That small shift is difficult to detect without sophisticated lab equipment – but perhaps not for long. A new “lab on a chip” designed by Brigham Young University professor Adam Woolley and his students reveals the presence of ultra-low concentrations of a target molecule.

As the BYU researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry, their experiments detected as little as a single nanogram – one billionth of a gram – of the target molecule from a drop of liquid. And instead of sending the sample to a lab for chemical analysis, the chip allows them to measure with such precision using their own eyes.

“The nice thing about the system that we have developed is that this could be done anywhere,” Woolley said. “Somebody could put the sample in, look at it, and have the result they need.”

The trick is to line a tiny pipe with receptors that catch a specific molecule and allow others to pass by. When a drop of liquid is placed on the clear chip, capillary action draws the fluid through the channel, flowing up to one centimeter per second. As more of the target molecules are snagged by the receptors, the space constricts and eventually stops the flow.

How far the sample flows is a direct indication of the concentration of the target molecule (higher concentration = shorter distance, lower concentration = longer distance).

“The accuracy gained with this system should make it competitive with more expensive and complicated immunoassay systems,” said Chuck Henry, a chemist at Colorado State University who was not affiliated with the project.

Woolley and his students hope their prototype will work as a blueprint for making inexpensive diagnostic tests for a variety of diseases and genetic disorders.

“There are a lot of molecules associated with diseases where concentrations around a nanogram per milliliter or less in blood are the difference between a disease state versus a healthy state,” Woolley said.

Four students worked on the project, led by graduate student Debolina Chatterjee of New Delhi, India. She and fellow grad student Danielle Mansfield mentored two undergraduates on the project, Neil Anderson and Sudeep Subedi.

The experience helped Anderson gain admission into law school at Cornell, where he is studying patent law. Subedi is completing a degree in clinical laboratory science and plans to eventually return to his homeland of Nepal and help establish better medical infrastructure.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Detecting Prostate Cancer With a Microfluidic Device
Innovative device detects prostate cancer, kidney disease on the spot.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
Detecting Cancer with the Prick of a Finger
BYU researchers create microdevice to speed up cancer detection.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Scientific News
The Changing Tides of the In Vitro Diagnostics Market
With the increasing focus in personalized medicine, diagnostics plays a crucial role in patient monitoring.
Capturing Cell Growth in 3-D
Spinout’s microfluidics device better models how cancer and other cells interact in the body.
Device May Detect Urinary Tract Infections Faster
A Lab-on-a-Disc platform developed by a German and Irish team of researchers dramatically cut the time to detect bacterial species that cause urinary tract infections -- a major cause of sepsis.
Automation Abound at AACC in Atlanta
Discover the latest breakthroughs, trends and products from the AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo.
Real-Time Data for Cancer Therapy
Biochemical sensor implanted at initial biopsy could allow doctors to better monitor and adjust cancer treatments.
Lab-on-a-Chip Offers Promise for TB and Asthma Patients
A device to mix liquids using ultrasonics is the first and most difficult component in a miniaturized system for low-cost analysis of sputum from patients with pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma.
Paving the way to Better Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
Aïcha BenTaieb will present her invention for automated identification of ovarian cancer’s many subtypes at an international conference this fall.
New Tech Enables Epigenomic Analysis with a Mere 100 Cells
A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer has been developed by researchers at Virginia Tech.
Futuristic Brain Probe Allows for Wireless Control of Neurons
NIH-funded scientists developed an ultra-thin, minimally invasive device for controlling brain cells with drugs and light.
Microfluidic Device Mixes And Matches DNA For Synthetic Biology
Researchers have developed a microfluidic device that quickly builds packages of DNA and delivers them into bacteria or yeast for further testing.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!