New Prototype Lab-on-a-Chip Platform to Enhance Detection of Molecular Pathogens

A new prototype lab-on-a-chip platform has been developed by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy & Immunology (Leipzig, Germany). This new platform provides versatile and easy detection of molecular pathogens.

Nuclear amplification testing is often used for pathogen detection. However, the process is currently manually complex and intensive, and needs dedicated equipment. This prevents its use in a few settings, and pathogen detection in separate samples.

Natalia Sandetskaya and colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute helped in solving these issues by using this new lab-on-a-chip platform, which has the potential to automate the process in a single instrument.

We were motivated by the existing need for making the molecular analysis of complex samples much simpler for the users. Our particular applied interest is the detection of the pathogens in blood; for instance in sepsis, when only a few microorganisms must be rapidly found in a large volume of blood.

Natalia Sandetskaya, Fraunhofer Institute

The chip uses microfluidics and incorporates lysis, sample volume transition, real-time fluorescence detection, amplification (LAMP or PCR), and nucleic acid isolation. As a single instrument, it is also capable of enabling diagnostics in scenarios that earlier were not feasible.

Its proof-of-concept in the detection of E. coli and Salmonella bacterial species is further demonstrated by the researchers.

Although our current prototype of the platform will need further development for this application, we have already demonstrated a high level of integration of very diverse processes without making the system overly complex.

Natalia Sandetskaya, Fraunhofer Institute

The team is currently planning to perform experiments that will help perfect the design of the platform and assess it in real-world samples.


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