Clinical Lab Industry News

New lab on a chip technology is developed for testing patients in doctor’s offices

New lab-on-a-chip technology is developed for testing patients in doctor's officesNew microfluidic nanotechnology has the potential to create reliable “mini labs” that can allow physicians to do many of the same medical laboratory tests in their offices that are currently performed in the today’s more complex clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups.

Some experts predict that recent advancements in lab-on-a-chip devices can make it possible for physicians to perform in-office many tests that are the mainstay of the medical laboratory industry, and possibly even produce superior results for a fraction of the cost.

Practical Applications

One company developing just such a product is optimistic about its prospects. “This little chip is capable of carrying out the same processes as a large laboratory, and not only does it perform them faster, but the results are also far more accurate,” explained Liv Furuberg, a researcher at SINTEF, a Scandinavian-base organization that performs contract research in the areas of health, information technology, and applied chemistry. “The doctor simply inserts the card into a little machine, adds a few drops of the sample taken from the patient via a tube in the cardholder, and out come the results.”

The credit card sized “lab-on-a-chip” was developed during a European Union-funded MicroActive project by a collaborative group of hospitals, labs and research institutes from Germany, Norway and Ireland.

A recent Science Daily article stated that, “This technology reduces a process that typically takes 20 manual steps in a traditional [clinical] laboratory down to just two, and as such it can be carried out by anybody who receives some basic training. Unlike lab-based diagnostics, it does not require expert personnel.”

And according to a Scientific Computing article, “Soon, your family doctor will no longer have to send blood or cancer cell samples to the laboratory. A little chip will provide test results on the spot.”

The article also states that these desktop laboratories “offer all the advantages of traditional molecular analysis with none of the disadvantages. It promises a revolution in diagnostic instrumentation.”

Revolutionary Technology

The so called lab-on-a-chip is not a new technology. Microfluidics, the control of fluids on a sub-millimeter scale, developed into practical applications during the 1980s. It has blossomed into a lab-on-a-chip industry covering everything from bio-technology to astrobiology.

But recent breakthroughs in its use in healthcare indicate that the technology stands poised to revolutionize how physicians go about diagnosing disease.

Is this new technology a threat to traditional clinical laboratories? Not likely, because even if lab-on-a-chip technology proves effective for use in physician offices, there will still be a substantial number of pathology laboratory tests that will be best performed in larger centralized clinical laboratories where medical technologists, Ph.D.s, and pathologists with specialized training can oversee both the testing of the specimen, and be available when referring physicians need consultations.



About Randox

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Randox Laboratories Ltd. is a market leader within the in vitro diagnostics industry, manufacturing high quality diagnostic products for laboratories worldwide. Our extensive product portfolio offers complete solutions within the fields of clinical chemistry, cardiology, forensic toxicology, veterinary, drug residues, life sciences, oncology, molecular diagnostics and internal and external quality control. Our goal is to ‘revolutionise healthcare through continuously improving diagnostic solutions.’ We continue to achieve this year after year due to our commitment and significant re-investment in Research and Development. Our innovative approach to diagnostics allows us to develop revolutionary products, specifically designed to provide more efficient, higher quality and reliable results, ensuring patients receive the right diagnosis at the right time.

Biochip Array Technology from Randox is capable of simultaneous multi-analyte diagnostic testing within the fields of clinical research and testing, Drugs of Abuse screening and DNA analysis.  Based on proven ELISA principles, the innovative feature of Biochip Array Technology is the simultaneous multi-analyte testing. Each biochip has 25 Discrete Test Regions (DTRs) and each DTR holds an individual test. This means that 23 tests can be carried out with two reserved for internal quality control, another unique Biochip Array Technology feature.


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