SALT LAKE CITY University of Utah scientists successfully created a sensitive prototype device that could test for dozens or even hundreds of diseases simultaneously by acting like a credit card-swipe machine to scan a card loaded with microscopic blood, saliva or urine samples.
The prototype works on the same principle giant magnetoresistance or GMR that is used to read data on computer hard drives or listen to tunes on portable digital music players.
"Think how fast your PC reads data on a hard drive, and imagine using the same technology to monitor your health," says Marc Porter, a Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) professor of chemistry, chemical engineering and bioengineering.
Porter is the senior author of a pair of studies demonstrating the new method for rapid disease testing. The research will be published in the Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008, issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry.
"You can envision this as a wellness check in which a patient sample blood, urine, saliva is spotted on a sample stick or card, scanned, and then the readout indicates your state of well-being," says USTAR research scientist Michael Granger, a co-author of the research. "We have a great sensor able to look for many disease markers."
Unlike lab tests today, results could be available in minutes, not hours to weeks.
Porter and Granger conducted the research with John Nordling, Rachel Millen and Heather Bullen at Iowa State University in Ames where Porter once worked and Mark Tondra, then at NVE Corp., in Eden Prairie, Minn.
The Utah Science, Technology and Research initiative seeks to create new high-tech jobs by recruiting world-class research teams to develop products and services that can be commercialized to start new businesses and stimulate Utah's economy.
Homeland Security, Environmental Monitoring, Veterinary Medicine
The prototype card-swipe device
|Contact: Lee Siegel|
University of Utah