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June 11th, 2010
Diagnostics for All, a nonprofit startup in Cambridge, MA, has designed a cheap, disposable blood test for liver damage. The device uses a stack of paper the size of a postage stamp for a test of toxicity for drugs to treat HIV and tuberculosis.
"We're looking at pennies per device," says Beattie. Since the raw material for the test is paper, this decreases the cost of production exponentially. Also, it makes use of the properties of paper to cause flow, removing the need for expensive equipment like pumps. The startup is a spin-off from the George Whitesides lab at Harvard University, and holds exclusive license to diagnostic technologies that the lab is tailoring for use in the developing world. The liver function test is the first application of the paper-patterned microfluidics assay that the Whitesides lab developed in 2008.
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