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Lab on a chip developed at University of Alberta for cheap, portable medical tests
Date:1/29/2008

University of Alberta researchers in Edmonton, Canada, have developed a portable unit for genetic testing about the size of a shoebox, which has the same capability as a lab full of expensive equipment.

The device along with other, even smaller units the team is now in the process of developing paves the way for enormous savings to health-care systems and will improve care for patients. A wide variety of genetic tests that are available but not often used because their cost is prohibitive will become cheap, fast and easily accessible.

Prof. Christopher Backhouse, of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, together with Dr. Linda Pilarski, an oncology professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, and their research team, have received international recognition for the device. An article describing their shoebox-sized portable unit appears in the Jan. 18, 2008, issue of The Analyst, a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry based in the United Kingdom. The article lead author is University of Alberta PhD student Govind V. Kaigala.

A royal society publication (Chemical Science) heralded the device in an online article featuring the advance, and indicated the University of Alberta is winning the global race to use micro and nano-biotechnology in developing diagnostic applications for so-called lab-on-chip technology.

It said:

Canadian scientists have succeeded in building the least expensive portable device for rapid genetic testing ever made. The cost of carrying out a single genetic test currently varies from hundreds to thousands of pounds, and the wait for results can take weeks. Now a group led by Christopher Backhouse, University of Alberta, Edmonton, have developed a reusable microchip-based system that costs just 500 (pounds) to build, is small enough to be portable, and can be used for point-of-care medical testing.

Backhouse compares the developm
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Contact: Julia Necheff
julia.necheff@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

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