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Rice University technology in human trials to spot cardiac disease, cancer, drug abuse
Date:2/9/2011

Heart disease is a silent killer, but new microchip technology from Rice University is expected to advance the art of diagnosis.

During National Heart Health Month, Rice Professor John McDevitt will discuss the potential of this technology to detect cardiac disease early at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-21. Cardiac disease is the focus of one of six ongoing major clinical trials of Rice's programmable bio-nano-chips (PBNCs).

PBNCs combine microfluidics, nanotechnology, advanced optics and electronics to enable quick, painless diagnostic tests for a wide range of diseases at minimal cost.

Current clinical trials employ PBNCs to test more than 4,000 patients for signs of heart disease, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer and drug abuse. Versions to test for HIV/AIDS and other diseases are also in development.

"Too often, the first time people know they're suffering from heart disease is when it kills them," said McDevitt, Rice's Brown-Wiess Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering, who will participate in a global health seminar at AAAS.

"With this test, we expect to save lives and dramatically cut the recovery time and cost of caring for those who suffer from heart ailments," said McDevitt, a pioneer in the creation of microfluidic devices for biomedical testing. He anticipates the PBNCs, when manufactured in bulk, will cost only a few dollars each.

PBNCs analyze a patient's saliva for biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, McDevitt said, only about half of the patients having a heart attack are diagnosed immediately via electrocardiogram. The rest require a series of time-consuming laboratory tests that take up to 12 hours to complete. PBNCs now in development deliver results in as little as 20 minutes and provide clinicians with timely information that can help them manage patients more
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Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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