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Childhood Cancer has Targeted with Lab-On-a-Chip Test

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The Alberta Cancer Diagnostic Consortium (ACDC) has announced that it has unveiled its prototype lab-on-a-chip device and announced that the first cancer screening test being developed for the handheld tool aims to improve treatment for a rare form of childhood cancer.

The small handheld device, likened to the “tri-corder” of Star Trek fame, combines a number of complex laboratory procedures that will allow testing to be performed at the point of care.

The team is developing several different diagnosis and monitoring tests to run on the device.

ACDC’s proposed test - for acute lymphocytic leukemia - will help physicians choose the best course of treatment for this rare childhood cancer.

By providing a method to predict drug toxicity, adverse and potentially fatal reactions will be prevented.

“Our innovations are likely to revolutionize the delivery of sophisticated health care to Canadians by increasing accessibility and decreasing cost,” said Dr. Chris Backhouse of the University of Alberta’s Computer and Electrical Engineering Department, and in charge of developing the new device.

“Our automated devices will carry out diagnostic and/or monitoring tests in hospitals, local health centres, remote areas or even outer space.”

The announcement came at the official opening of ACDC’s state-of-the-art laboratory in the University of Alberta’s Research Transition Facility (RTF). 

“Western Economic Diversification Canada works with local partners, such as the ACDC, to develop innovative new technologies,” said Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister, on behalf of the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport).

“By harnessing the top researchers and resources from three institutions, ACDC is making great strides towards applying new micro and nanotechnologies to improving cancer care.”