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BYU Researchers: 1st 3-D Printed Microfluidic Device @ <100 µ


Okrahomer

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BYU researchers have created a 3-D printed Microfluidic Device that is effective at less than 100 micrometers (also reported here.)  This is quite a significant break-through, as Microfluidics is an emerging technology with very exciting possibilities.  Other researchers have previously created microfluidic devices using 3-D printers; however, they have never been effective at such a small scale (less than 100 micrometers.)  BYU's success depended in part on the development of a custom resin--the fruit of their freshman team member's long research into available options.  The focus of the BYU team has been to advance the potential of the "Lab-on-a-chip" concept--i.e., making sophisticated medical tests affordable, fast, and available where currently no medical laboratory services exist.

From Wiki:

"Lab-on-a-chip technology may soon become an important part of efforts to improve global health,[17] particularly through the development of point-of-care testing devices.[18] In countries with few healthcare resources, infectious diseases that would be treatable in a developed nation are often deadly. In some cases, poor healthcare clinics have the drugs to treat a certain illness but lack the diagnostic tools to identify patients who should receive the drugs. Many researchers believe that LOC technology may be the key to powerful new diagnostic instruments. The goal of these researchers is to create microfluidic chips that will allow healthcare providers in poorly equipped clinics to perform diagnostic tests such as immunoassays and nucleic acid assays with no laboratory support."

P.S.  Apologies for my lack of scientific and/or technological sophistication.  I'm reporting on it only because it "sounds" quite exciting.  :-)

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This is off-topic, but I'm hoping that someone can 3-D print me a new hip for my thrice-reconstructed one before I have to settle for a THR with current artificial technology. ;) 

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Thank you, very kindly! :)  I will take all of the prayers that I can get.  Hips, of course, are a tad bit more complex than knees, but, today, knees!  Tomorrow, hips!  Go, researchers, go! :D 

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16 hours ago, The Nehor said:

 I work with some immunoassay equipment and was skeptical but actually looks workable for at least some applications.

This is really neat.

Edit:  I do too [think this is really neat--not that I work with immunoassay equipment], but I can't claim to understand how it will work.  Maybe you can help?

So, they've 3-D printed this "device"--i.e., a chip that is able to channel tiny amounts of fluid (like human blood)--which could then be analyzed very quickly (and inexpensively) to determine the presence of various diseases and conditions.  My question is:  Where will the actual analysis take place?  

1.  The physician working out in some extremely remote area of the earth takes a very small sample of blood from a patient.

2.  The sample is placed onto this device and the blood flows through the various channels.

3.  Does the physician then insert the chip into another device (like an iPhone) where the results will be displayed?

Edited by Okrahomer
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8 minutes ago, Okrahomer said:

I do too, but I can't claim to understand how it will work.  Maybe you can help?

So, they've 3-D printed this "device"--i.e., a chip that is able to channel tiny amounts of fluid (like human blood)--which could then be analyzed very quickly (and inexpensively) to determine the presence of various diseases and conditions.  My question is:  Where will the actual analysis take place?  

1.  The physician working out in some extremely remote area of the earth takes a very small sample of blood from a patient.

2.  The sample is placed onto this device and the blood flows through the various channels.

3.  Does the physician then insert the chip into another device (like an iPhone) where the results will be displayed?

I am not an expert but I am familiar with the idea through osmosis from those who are. My primary work is in training people to use devices and do basic maintenance and not building them so take what I say with a grain of salt and it is subject to correction by people more knowledgeable than I am.

This would allow you to create a chip in which you could feed a quantity of blood and its reaction could be detected visually. You would need some kind of device to detect it but that could be cheap and portable. You could maybe even use a smartphone. Basically you are detecting a visual change in the chip after feeding it. Think pregnancy test which uses the same basic principle to detect a hormone associated with pregnancy..

Now the limitation would be that some kinds of immunoassay tests use biologically active material in the test which means they have a shelf life and cannot be made by a 3D printer. There may be a non-biological alternative in design but I am not familiar enough to know if that is feasible.

It would be a huge help to a small clinic cut off from resources. When a hospital in the United States suspects an illness they often have the necessary test materials on hand or at least have the infrastructure to get the material quickly. If you have neither this could be a diagnostic boon.

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1 hour ago, Okrahomer said:

I do too, but I can't claim to understand how it will work.  Maybe you can help?

So, they've 3-D printed this "device"--i.e., a chip that is able to channel tiny amounts of fluid (like human blood)--which could then be analyzed very quickly (and inexpensively) to determine the presence of various diseases and conditions.  My question is:  Where will the actual analysis take place?  

1.  The physician working out in some extremely remote area of the earth takes a very small sample of blood from a patient.

2.  The sample is placed onto this device and the blood flows through the various channels.

3.  Does the physician then insert the chip into another device (like an iPhone) where the results will be displayed?

I have worked with immunoassay and biochemical assays related to this. As the blood sample passes through the tiny channels of the LOC it picks up various reagents along the way that have been previously coated to the insides of the channels and the end result emits some kind of signal (colorimetric, fluorometric, etc). The LOC is then inserted into a small electronic device that will read the emitted signal and either give a  quantitative measurement of the analyte in the blood or simply produce a positiv/negative result. 

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20 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

This is off-topic, but I'm hoping that someone can 3-D print me a new hip for my thrice-reconstructed one before I have to settle for a THR with current artificial technology. ;) 

I think that technology is on the horizon, but I think it will be several years before it becomes available. I just had my ankle rebuilt using my own genetic material and cleansed cadaver tissue for a scaffold. There was no need for 3-D printing because the surrounding bone was still in tact. A hip, of course is much more complex but just the fact that I am growing my own bone back with zero chance of rejection makes me think that we will be able to eventually grow entire bones, organs, etc.  I'm as pleased as punch with my surgery! You might consider the best prosthesis available in the mean time but I think there is good evidence to hope!

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1 hour ago, katherine the great said:

I think that technology is on the horizon, but I think it will be several years before it becomes available. I just had my ankle rebuilt using my own genetic material and cleansed cadaver tissue for a scaffold. There was no need for 3-D printing because the surrounding bone was still in tact. A hip, of course is much more complex but just the fact that I am growing my own bone back with zero chance of rejection makes me think that we will be able to eventually grow entire bones, organs, etc.  I'm as pleased as punch with my surgery! You might consider the best prosthesis available in the mean time but I think there is good evidence to hope!

Thanks for the info.  Why, oh, why can't we stay young?!! :blink:  Ah, well!  I guess that's what the Resurrection is for. ;) My dear, departed sister-in-law (Love you, Rita! :() donated her body to the University of Utah School of Medicine.  Since they probably won't take mine when I'm dead, I'll just have to volunteer to let them use it for trials while I'm alive! :D 

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3 hours ago, katherine the great said:

I think that technology is on the horizon, but I think it will be several years before it becomes available. I just had my ankle rebuilt using my own genetic material and cleansed cadaver tissue for a scaffold. There was no need for 3-D printing because the surrounding bone was still in tact. A hip, of course is much more complex but just the fact that I am growing my own bone back with zero chance of rejection makes me think that we will be able to eventually grow entire bones, organs, etc.  I'm as pleased as punch with my surgery! You might consider the best prosthesis available in the mean time but I think there is good evidence to hope!

Wow!  This is pretty amazing too!

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On 8/14/2017 at 4:22 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

This is off-topic, but I'm hoping that someone can 3-D print me a new hip for my thrice-reconstructed one before I have to settle for a THR with current artificial technology. ;) 

Make sure to save a few bucks by installing it yourself. ;) 

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