New York, NYJuly 31, 2011Samuel K. Sia, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed an innovative strategy for an integrated microfluidic-based diagnostic devicein effect, a lab-on-a-chipthat can perform complex laboratory assays, and do so with such simplicity that these tests can be carried out in the most remote regions of the world. In a paper published in Nature Medicine online on July 31, Sia presents the first published field results on how microfluidicsthe manipulation of small amounts of fluidsand nanoparticles can be successfully leveraged to produce a functional low-cost diagnostic device in extreme resource-limited settings.
Sia and his team performed testing in Rwanda over the last four years in partnership with Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and three local non-government organizations in Rwanda, targeting hundreds of patients. His device, known as mChip (mobile microfluidic chip), requires only a tiny finger prick of blood, effective even for a newborn, and givesin less than 15 minutesquantitative objective results that are not subject to user interpretation. This new technology significantly reduces the time between testing patients and treating them, providing medical workers in the field results that are much easier to read at a much lower cost. New low-cost diagnostics like the mChip could revolutionize medical care around the world.
"We have engineered a disposable credit card-sized device that can produce blood-based diagnostic results in minutes," said Sia. "The idea is to make a large class of diagnostic tests accessible to patients in any setting in the world, rather than forcing them to go to a clinic to draw blood and then wait days for their results."
Sia's lab at Columbia Engineering has developed the mChip devices in collaboration with Claros Diagnostics Inc., a venture capital-backed startup that Sia co-founded in 2004. (The company has recen
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