Blood diagnosis -- chip-based and mobile

Oct 01, 2009
This unit houses the encapsulated measurement chip with which blood samples can be tested on site for pathogens. Credit: Fraunhofer IBMT

The analysis takes just a few minutes and the doctor knows straight-away whether there are any pathogens in the blood. An improved marker-free technique provides the basis for faster analysis, whether in a hospital or for mobile blood donations.

If a person loses a large amount of the consequences can be critical. That's why adequate quantities of donated blood have to be kept available in hospitals and blood banks. In Egypt doctors collect blood by traveling to towns and villages and conducting blood donation sessions in a laboratory bus. The problem is that 25 per cent of the samples taken contain pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis and syphilis. As these diseases can be passed on in transfusions, the contaminated blood cannot be used. Conventional fast tests are not suitable in most cases for mobile use.

In future a rapid and robust analysis technique could help. A few drops of blood could be tested in the bus to check whether it can be used. Only if the result is positive will the doctors take a larger quantity from the donor. The basis for this has been provided by research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT in Sankt Ingbert under an EU project also involving the Egyptian company VACSERA, Mivitec GmbH, the Institute for Analytical Sciences ISAS in Dortmund and the University of Lausitz. "Our consortium has developed a glass which has antibodies on it. Tiny surface oscillations are induced in the chip. If the relevant virus binds with an antibody, the oscillation changes," explains Dr. Thomas Velten, Head of Department at the IBMT.

The technique is not new, but the chip that has been developed offers advantages. Usually there is only one measurement field and a reference field next to it, positioned a just a few millimeters apart. But the temperature there can be different. On the new chip, the measurement and reference fields are divided into narrow strips which in each case are located right next to each other. As a result the chip is more resistant to fluctuations in temperature. What's more, the new chip consists of four analysis squares, which means that the blood can be examined for four different pathogens during each test.

It has also been difficult up till now for laboratory workers to avoid contact with the blood and protect themselves from infections while conducting tests in the bus. The researchers at the IBMT have therefore encapsulated the chip. This makes the blood follow a defined course on the chip, protecting the user. A first prototype of the measurement device is being presented at the Medica trade fair from November 18 to 21 in Düsseldorf, Germany, (Hall 10, Stand 10F05).

Dr. Velten estimates that the device could come onto the market in about three years' time.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: California quake points to research advancements in retrofitting older buildings

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lab in a Drop

May 06, 2008

Analysis and diagnosis in a chip format are coming of age, but their practical application has been limited because until now, the sample usually had to be prepared separately and on a nonminiaturized scale. Jürgen Pipper ...

FDA approves automated hepatitis B test

Jul 19, 2006

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first automated product combining screening and confirmatory tests for hepatitis B surface antigen.

Portable device can detect viruses in minutes

May 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Imagine being able to detect in just a few minutes whether someone is infected with a virus. This has now become a reality, thanks to a new ultra-sensitive detector that has been developed ...

Recommended for you

Greater safety and security at Europe's train stations

Sep 01, 2014

When a suspicious individual fleas on a bus or by train, then things usually get tough for the police. This is because the security systems of the various transportation companies and security services are ...

Fingerprints for freight items

Sep 01, 2014

Security is a top priority in air freight logistics but screening procedures can be very time consuming and costly. Fraunhofer researchers intend to boost efficiency with a new approach to digital logistics, ...

On the way to a safe and secure smart home

Sep 01, 2014

A growing number of household operations can be managed via the Internet. Today's "Smart Home" promises efficient building management. But often the systems are not secure and can only be retrofitted at great ...

DIY glove-based tutor indicates muscle-memory potential

Aug 31, 2014

A senior editor at IEEE Spectrum worked on a DIY project that enabled his 11-year-old son to improve his touch typing by use of a vibrating glove. His son was already "pretty quick on the keyboard," said ...

User comments : 0