Washington: Scientists in Australia have reported the first use of ordinary cotton thread and sewing needles to literally stitch together a ‘lab-on-a-chip’ device capable of detecting diseases such as kidney failure and diabetes. The microfluidic analytical device, created by Associate Professor Wei Shen and his research team from Monash University’s Engineering Faculty, works by wicking fluid along the microscopic fibres of cotton thread sown into a polymer film.
According to Shen, the low-cost simplicity of the cotton-thread concept belied its power and potential to make a huge difference to healthcare in many parts of the world. “Communities in the developing world are very vulnerable to diseases, so early detection and screening systems can save many lives,” he said. “However, many of the current commercial devices are not cheap enough for large-scale health-care projects involving disease detection, so an affordable alternative could make a huge difference,” he added. “Our results demonstrate that thread is a suitable material for fabricating microfluidic diagnostic devices for monitoring human health, environment and food safety, especially for the population in less-industrialized areas or remote regions,” he said. ANI
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