Sleek ‘Lab in a Needle’ Is an All-in-One Device That Detects Liver Toxicity in Minutes during a Study, Showing Potential to Supplant Some Medical Laboratory Tests

Researchers’ prototype uses lab-on-a-chip technology and seems to do it all, from collection and analysis to results in minutes and in the palm of your hand

Here’s a diagnostic workhorse that can also easily slip inside the pocket of a doctor’s white coat. The slim device, created and reported by researchers, integrates a clinical laboratory’s workflow from collecting samples to analyzing them and reporting results in minutes.

The device is dubbed “lab in a needle” by researchers at Houston Methodist and their collaborators at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech). The recently announced study focused on liver toxicity. But the research team says in a news statement that their medical laboratory-in-a-needle has potential to diagnose and monitor therapies for many health conditions in settings well beyond the medical laboratory and hospital.

For clinical laboratory leaders and pathologists, the prototype can be seen as another step forward in efforts to develop more sophisticated point-of-care testing (POCT) that incorporate miniature lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technologies. Mass production could bring the tiny mobile lab’s capabilities to remote and rural communities where low cost and ease of use are essential. (more…)