Clinical laboratory assays based on low-cost paper strip tests could make detecting malaria easier in rural areas of Africa and Southeast Asia
In the field of remote medical pathology, diagnostic tests strips made from paper can provide low-cost, simple-to-perform testing in developing nations. These are regions where such diagnostic test capabilities are desperately needed by medical laboratory scientists and resource-strapped clinical laboratories.
One such example is a new paper strip test that can detect malaria for people in rural areas of Africa and southeast Asia. Such tests could also lower the cost of diagnostic testing in other parts of the world. Research teams have been working on various paper-based tests for at least the last decade. (more…)
Offering lower costs and quicker returns than much of the traditional lab equipment in use today, lab-on-a-chip devices are again in a position to revolutionize pathology and medical laboratory work
For nearly 20 years, researchers have heralded microfluidic devices, paper-based diagnostics, and other lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technologies, as ways for medical laboratory scientists, pathologists, and other medical diagnostic professionals to reduce the time and costs of clinical laboratory services. With the promise of obtaining results in just minutes without the need for extensive training, these point-of-care tests and devices create big buzz with each new design.
An yet, after all that progress, most laboratories still depend on their spectrometers, flow cytometers, blood analyzers, and other equipment for the bulk of their testing and routines.
That leaves one major question for clinical laboratory professionals and chip developers alike—when is the revolution? (more…)
New diagnostic capabilities could enable clinical laboratories to obtain multiple outcomes on single fluidic strip tests
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island (URI) have developed a paper-based microfluidic valve technology that some claim may revolutionize existing lateral-flow tests. There is the potential for this innovation to eventually enable pathology groups and medical laboratories to conduct a wide variety of complex medical diagnostics on single fluidic test strips, such as those used to diagnose pregnancy and strep throat, according to a university statement.
Testing Multiple Biomarkers Using a Single Test Strip
Fluidic test strips commonly in use today are generally capable of rendering only one result. However, by combining their new paper-based valve platform with standards strip tests, the URI research team has produced strip tests capable of answering more challenging medical questions.
The evolution of the new technology, dubbed “Lab-on-Paper,” follows the development of the team’s earlier “lab-on-a-chip” device, which the researchers began developing back in 2005. (more…)
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…)
Lab-on-a-chip technology could reduce the time needed to identify infection-causing bacteria and for physicians to prescribe correct antibiotics
Pathology groups and medical laboratories may see their role in the patient-care process grow if researchers succeed in developing culture-independent diagnostic tools that quickly identify bacterial infections as well as pinpoint the antibiotics needed to treat them.
In the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections (AKA “super bugs”) the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding nine research projects aimed at thwarting the growing problem of life-threatening infections that no longer are controlled or killed by today’s arsenal of drugs.
Common Practices in Hospitals Leading to Super Bugs
Currently, when infections are suspected in hospitals or other settings where illness can quickly spread, samples are sent to a central medical laboratory where it may take up to three days to determine what germ is causing the infection. Because of that delay, physicians often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics based on a patient’s symptoms rather than lab test results, a practice that can lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant microbes. (more…)