New 'lab-on-a-chip' technology can help in early diagnosis of cancer

Scientists have developed a miniaturized biomedical testing device for exosomes that can help in early diagnosis of cancer.

ANI| Updated: Oct 08, 2014, 16:40 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have developed a miniaturized biomedical testing device for exosomes that can help in early diagnosis of cancer.

Dubbed as the "lab-on-a-chip," the device promises faster result times, reduced costs, minimal sample demands and better sensitivity of analysis of lung cancer when compared with the conventional bench-top instruments now used to examine the tiny biomarkers.

Exosomes could lead to less invasive, earlier detection of cancer, and sharply boost patients' odds of survival.

Yong Zeng, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas, said that Exosomes are minuscule membrane vesicles or sacs released from most, cell types, including cancer cells.

Also referred to as "microfluidics" technology, it was inspired by revolutionary semiconductor electronics and has been under intensive development since the 1990s and essentially, it allows precise manipulation of minuscule fluid volumes down to one trillionth of a liter or less to carry out multiple laboratory functions, such as sample purification, running of chemical and biological reactions, and analytical measurement.

The prototype lab-on-a-chip has been made of a widely used silicone rubber called polydimethylsiloxane and uses a technique called "on-chip immunoisolation."