Micronics, Inc. today announced that it has been issued a letters patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a system and method for performing rapid thermocycling on a microfluidic device. The new patent has broad utility across the life sciences sector with particular application in point of care molecular diagnostics.
The patent is entitled “System and method for heating, cooling and heat cycling on a microfluidic device,” and is USPTO number 7,544,506 (the ‘506 case). The newly issued patent identifies an integrated system for performing a complete polymerase chain reaction (PCR) temperature cycle in less than 15 seconds using a microfluidic device that is made of lowest cost plastics.
The system integrates a peltier-type heating, cooling and heat cycling exchange system on a disposable device using fluidic flow and the properties of selected plastic materials. This greatly simplifies both the cost and the size of a system needed to perform thermocycling. Historically, the process of thermocycling &ndash the method that permits segments of DNA to be amplified using the PCR process &ndash has involved complex and relatively expensive instruments operated by skilled technicians.
In the ‘506 case, the disposable microfluidic cartridge makes it possible to perform PCR or rtPCR in a fraction of the time of commercial systems in use today. In Micronics’ molecular diagnostic devices, all reagents required for a diagnostic test generally are incorporated into the disposable device.
Micronics is advancing a point of care molecular diagnostic platform called the PanNAT system that employs disposable cartridges and a small, lightweight, easy to operate instrument. Using microfluidics, the Company is able to substantially reduce the volumes of sample and reagents required to produce a test result, generally within a fraction of the time and cost that traditional reference lab and bench top methods require.