Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > Where nanotechnology and medicine meet: University of Alberta researcher shrinks medical tests, makes them more affordable

University of Alberta oncology professor Linda Pilarski, along with her research team, has created a microfluidic chip that can test for up to 80 different genetic markers of cancer. (photo courtesy Dammika Manage)
University of Alberta oncology professor Linda Pilarski, along with her research team, has created a microfluidic chip that can test for up to 80 different genetic markers of cancer. (photo courtesy Dammika Manage)

Abstract:
In a rural medical office, only the bare minimum of medical technology is either affordable or practical, and doctors rely on their own diagnostic skills rather than the expensive tests that doctors at urban centres can more easily access.

Where nanotechnology and medicine meet: University of Alberta researcher shrinks medical tests, makes them more affordable

Saskatoon, Canada | Posted on January 3rd, 2012

This can become a problem when a patient appears whose symptoms could represent a bad flu, but could also be indicative of cancer. In the absence of proper equipment from which many urban doctors benefit, rural patients can be misdiagnosed or mistreated due to the impracticality of running the gamut of tests on them.

Linda Pilarski, a University of Alberta oncology professor and Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Nanotechnology, has been working since 1998 to change this.

Researchers have made great strides in diagnostic tools for detecting the genetic abnormalities that lead to or signal cancers, but many of these remain solely the province of experimental labs because of practical impediments like the cost of equipment.

Aiming specifically to make clinical medicine easier and less expensive to conduct, Pilarski and her team have created a microfluidic chip about the size of a thumbnail that can test for up to 80 different genetic markers of cancer.

"Most of the things we were doing were much too complicated to do in a clinical lab," Pilarski said. "Their technology has to be far more regulated than what we're doing in the lab. It may be feasible [to use current experimental tests] in a big research hospital, but not in Stony Plains, in our little health care centre, for example.

"And with tests that are feasible, they're feasible only because they study many samples at once."

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, for example, is a rare cancer that mostly affects children. When detected and treated early enough, it has an exceptionally high cure rate. But if left untreated, it can prove fatal in as little as a few weeks.

The equipment to test for this kind of cancer is typically only at centrally located labs, and 100 or 200 samples from different patients need to be tested using current technology.

"There might not be 100 cases [of the disease] in all of Canada in a year," let alone at one time in one area, Pilarski said.

This was part of the thinking that led her and her team to work on a way to test individual samples, and for several different possible cancers at once. They have reversed the normal procedure, studying several samples for one disease, in the hopes of making tests easier to do in more remote locations.

There are about 80 small posts attached to a glass chip, and each post carries out a different test for a different mutation. Unlike the currently used larger equipment, Pilarski says these chips should allow clinicians to perform the tests within an hour, and rather than make patients wait a nerve-wracking few days for their results, they can find out before they leave the lab.

While Pilarski's work has focused on cancer, the chip she has developed could be used to test for any number of illnesses, which is precisely what medical equipment company Aquila Diagnostics plans to do with Pilarski's technology.

"Some of the first things to come out might not be for cancer but for infectious diseases," Pilarski said.

The microfluidic chip technology could be used to quickly rule out several infectious diseases when a patient appears at an emergency room with a fever, which could, for all attending physicians know, be anything from a mild flu to the West Nile virus, which is much more dangerous.

In addition to ERs in the developed world, a small, transportable chip would be immensely useful in areas with more patchwork health facilities, which can often also be places where infectious diseases run rampant. Pilarski mentioned sub-Saharan Africa specifically, where nearly 11 million children die every year. Major causes are pneumonia and diarrhea, which are treatable, and malaria, which causes 16 per cent of the deaths of children under five, and which is also treated easily.

Pilarski said she expects the chip to be ready for field-testing in the next year. These will not be clinical trials, which take place shortly before a technology is approved for widespread use, but simply trials outside the research lab.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Canadian University Press

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Stanford team achieves 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode - Engineers use carbon nanospheres to protect lithium from the reactive and expansive problems that have restricted its use as an anode July 27th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Reusable Nanoadsorbent to Detect Sulfamide in Chicken July 27th, 2014

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster: University of Leicester research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials July 25th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 2014

Academic/Education

Haydale Announces Collaboration Agreement with Swansea University’s Welsh Centre for Printing and Coatings (WCPC) July 12th, 2014

STFC takes delivery of the 100th Hitachi Tabletop SEM in the UK July 3rd, 2014

Innovation Management and the Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology Industry July 1st, 2014

Albany NanoCollege Faculty Member Selected as Editor-in-Chief of the Prestigious Journal of Electronic Materials July 1st, 2014

Nanomedicine

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 25th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 2014

Researchers create vaccine for dust-mite allergies Main Page Content: Vaccine reduced lung inflammation to allergens in lab and animal tests July 22nd, 2014

NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast July 22nd, 2014

Discoveries

Stanford team achieves 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode - Engineers use carbon nanospheres to protect lithium from the reactive and expansive problems that have restricted its use as an anode July 27th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Reusable Nanoadsorbent to Detect Sulfamide in Chicken July 27th, 2014

New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut July 25th, 2014

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster: University of Leicester research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials July 25th, 2014

Announcements

Stanford team achieves 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode - Engineers use carbon nanospheres to protect lithium from the reactive and expansive problems that have restricted its use as an anode July 27th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Produce Reusable Nanoadsorbent to Detect Sulfamide in Chicken July 27th, 2014

Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms in an ultra-cold cluster: University of Leicester research team unlocks insights into creation of new nano-materials July 25th, 2014

Scientists Test Nanoparticle "Alarm Clock" to Awaken Immune Systems Put to Sleep by Cancer July 25th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE