Posts Tagged ‘Lab-on-a-chip’

Antimicrobial Resistance

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator



NIH Funds Nine Anti-Microbial Resistance Diagnostic Projects to Deal with ‘Super Bugs’ and Give Clinical Laboratories New Diagnostic Tools to Improve Patient Care

Lab-on-a-chip technology could reduce the time needed to identify infection-causing bacteria and for physicians to prescribe correct antibiotics 

Pathology groups and medical laboratories may see their role in the patient-care process grow if researchers succeed in developing culture-independent diagnostic tools that quickly identify bacterial infections as well as pinpoint the antibiotics needed to treat them.

In the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections (AKA “super bugs”) the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding nine research projects aimed at thwarting the growing problem of life-threatening infections that no longer are controlled or killed by today’s arsenal of drugs.

Common Practices in Hospitals Leading to Super Bugs

Currently, when infections are suspected in hospitals or other settings where illness can quickly spread, samples are sent to a central medical laboratory where it may take up to three days to determine what germ is causing the infection. Because of that delay, physicians often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics based on a patient’s symptoms rather than lab test results, a practice that can lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant microbes.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a serious global health threat that is undermining our ability to effectively detect, treat, and prevent infections,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in a news release. “One way we can combat drug resistance is by developing enhanced diagnostic tests that rapidly identify the bacteria causing an infection and their susceptibility to various antimicrobials. This will help physicians determine the most effective treatments for infected individuals and thereby reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that can contribute to the drug resistance problem.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that preventing infections and improving antibiotic prescribing could save 37,000 lives from drug-resistant infections over five years.

Click here to see image

As Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Anthony S. Fauci, MD, (above) leads research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. He serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on global AIDS issues. (Photo and caption copyright: NIH Medline Plus.)

Read Full Post »

Liver on the chip devices with the capacity to replace animal experiments

Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

In the recent years, there is a growing perception that animal experiments fail to predict human responses which indicates the development of other models to predict drug toxicity. The main challenge in replacing animal experiments is that the human cells have a low survival rate when they are outside the body. Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology in Germany partnered to create a liver-on-chip device mimicking human physiology. In addition , they use nanotechnology based sensors to the living tissue to identify toxicity.

The results indicated he first discovery of a new toxicity mechanism using the newly emerging human-on-a-chip technology which indicates development of alternative models of animal testing is not far away from being a reality. The market for this technology shows a double digit annual growth rate in the last 3 years and is estimated to
grow to $17 billion by 2018.

Read Full Post »

Reporter: Venkat Karra, Ph.D.

Researchers at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have developed a miniaturized biochip that promises to boost the development of more effective cancer drugs.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research said on Wednesday that its research into the effect of drugs on cancer stem cells (CSCs) would shed light on cells that are resistant to drugs, local TV Channel NewsAsia reported.

It also explained how the technology works on CSCs, which form a small and distinct class of cancer cells in a tumor.

CSCs are more resistant to chemotherapy and if they are not eradicated, CSCs can repopulate the tumor and lead to cancer recurrence. It is therefore important for researchers to understand the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs against CSCs.

However, CSCs are scarce, making up about 1 percent of cancer cells.

This hampers studies using conventional drug screening methods, which require large sample volumes and are slow and expensive.

The IBN researchers found an answer, by developing a miniaturized biological assay, called the Droplet Array. It performs cheaper, faster and more convenient drug screening using limited samples.

In traditional biological assays, microplates — a flat plate with multiple wells in which samples are placed – are commonly used. Each requires at least 2,500 or 5,000 cells, to be present for viable analysis. IBN’s Droplet Array requires only 500 cells for screening. This massive reduction in sample volume saves money and makes it easier to study scarce quantities of target cells, such as CSCs.

IBN executive director, Professor Jackie Y Ying, who led the study, was quoted as saying that the Droplet Array marks a significant breakthrough in nanotechnology and lab-on-a-chip concepts. It also provides an efficient platform to speed up drug screening and development.



Reporter: Venkat Karra

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: