Chip simulates metabolism of medicine in human body

Apr 24, 2009
Photograph and diagram of the chip showing the inlets and outlets for fluids, the W-shaped fluid channel and the different electrodes.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A tiny electrochemical cell, developed by researchers of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, The Netherlands, is able to mimick the behaviour of medicine inside a human body. This chip is presented in the journal Lab on a Chip.

How a medicine reacts in the body to form different substances can now be simulated in a special fluidic chip developed at the University of Twente. This miniaturized electrochemical cell enables the rapid screening of new medicines. Researchers at the UT’s MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology presented the chip in the international authoritative journal ‘’.

Chip simulates metabolism of medicine in human body
Photograph and diagram of the chip showing the inlets and outlets for fluids, the W-shaped fluid channel and the different electrodes.

The chip is an extremely small electrochemical cell: a cell in which the chemical reactions that take place in the human body are simulated. The volume of the most important fluid channel on the chip is only 9.6 nanolitre, a nanolitre being a billionth of a litre. If a medicine is added to the fluid in the channel, it will oxidize to form various constituents. The in the cell can be controlled using variations in voltage on the minuscule electrodes. The cell is about a thousand times smaller than the usual electrochemical cells and, according to the researcher, Mathieu Odijk, the advantage of its tiny dimensions is that very small samples are sufficient to carry out complete tests.

Mr Odijk has already used the new cell to conduct tests on the anti-malarial drug, amodiaquine. He traces the various reaction products by coupling the cell to external measuring equipment: a liquid chromatograph and a mass spectrometer. Next, Mr Odijk hopes to integrate components of these measuring devices on to the chip to produce a complete, but extremely compact, measuring system. This will be a significant next step in his research.

More information: The article ‘A microfluidic for electrochemical conversions in drug metabolism studies’ by M. Odijk, A. Baumann, W. Lohmann, F.T.G. van den Brink, W. Olthuis, U. Karst and A. van den Berg, appeared in Lab on a Chip.

Provided by University of Twente (news : web)

Explore further: Haunting tales in ship-wrecked silver

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Explosion on chip sets liquid in motion

Oct 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- PhD student, Dennis van den Broek, of the University of Twente, Netherlands, has developed a new type of miniature motor, the micro-bubble actuator. This ‘motor’, which can be used in ...

Mini-laboratory gets megaproductive

Oct 31, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Dawid Zalewski of the University of Twente, Netherlands, has developed a mini-laboratory on a chip that can purify biological mixtures continuously. This is very different from the usual method ...

Make your own microfluidic device with new kit from U-M

Jul 24, 2008

A type of device called a "lab-on-a-chip" could bring a new generation of instant home tests for illnesses, food contaminants and toxic gases. But today these portable, efficient tools are often stuck in the lab themselves. ...

'Lab on a chip' mimics brain chemistry

Feb 12, 2008

Johns Hopkins researchers from the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Medicine have devised a micro-scale tool - a lab on a chip - designed to mimic the chemical complexities of the brain. The system should help ...

Recommended for you

The origins of handedness in life

4 hours ago

Handedness is a complicated business. To simply say life is left-handed doesn't even begin to capture the blooming hierarchy of binary refinements it continues to evolve. Over the years there have been numerous ...

Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

7 hours ago

As the threat of antibiotic resistance grows, scientists are turning to the human body and the trillion or so bacteria that have colonized us—collectively called our microbiota—for new clues to fighting microbial infections. ...

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

12 hours ago

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

12 hours ago

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

User comments : 0