By Cameron Chai
mChip or mobile microfluidic chip, a diagnostic equipment developed by Columbia Engineering researchers using microfluidics and nanoparticles, has been successfully tested to conduct difficult laboratory assays in Rwanda.
In Nature Medicine online, Samuel K. Sia, who serves as Columbia Engineering’s assistant professor of biomedical engineering, reported the Rwanda field results of the mChip, a lab-on-a-chip that can be used even in the most remote locations of the world to perform complicated lab assays at low cost.
The mChip can be used even for a newborn as it requires just a pin-prick amount of blood. It offers quantitative objective results in below 15 minutes, which in turn allows the patients to be treated in time. Sia stated that his research team developed a disposable device that can generate diagnostic results of blood samples within minutes.
The Columbia Engineering research team in partnership with Claros Diagnostics created the mChip device. The device’s microchip is produced with minute patterns of chemicals and test tubes using injection molding technology.
Sia plans to utilize the mChip devices to diagnose infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS in pregnant women in Rwanda who are living at locations that are remote from a hospital or a clinic with a lab. Claros Diagnostics has also designed a mChip device that can perform diagnostics for prostate cancer. The device received approval in 2010 for utilization in Europe.