Current methods of molecular pathogen detection require extensive manual work as well as are complex because of it takes time to arrive at results. In a bid to solve this, scientists have developed a new lab-on-a-chip platform that can easily detect molecular pathogens.
The prototype lab-on-a-chip platform has been developed by scientists at Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy & Immunology (Leipzig, Germany). The chip utilizes microfluidics and integrates sample volume transition, lysis, nucleic acid isolation, amplification (PCR or LAMP), and real-time fluorescence detection. As a single instrument, it could enable diagnostics in situations not previously feasible.
Scientists say the motivation behind their invention was the need for making the molecular analysis of complex samples much simpler for the users. One of the key interest of scientists with respect to the platform is the ability to detect pathogens in blood; for instance in sepsis, when only a few microorganisms must be rapidly found in a large volume of blood.
Scientists have already demonstrated that their lab-on-a-chip platform works by detecting E. coli and Salmonella bacterial species.
“Although our current prototype of the platform will need further development for this application, we have already demonstrated a high level of integration of very diverse processes without making the system overly complex,” scientists noted.
“The platform enables the transition from large sample volume to microfluidic format. The design and open interface enable its versatile application for various nucleic acid-based assays, from simple to complex setups”, the authors conclude in their study.
The team is now planning experiments to evaluate the platform in real-world samples and perfect its design.