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Lab-On-A-Chip Technique Simplifies Detecting Cancer DNA Biomarkers, Enables Development Of Viable Diagnostic Tests

17 December 2016, 12:15 am EST By Saranya Palanisamy Tech Times
Lab-on-a-chip or LOC technique is an innovative technique that helps in detecting cancer at an early stage and facilitates the development of feasible diagnostic tests. It requires low volume of fluids and improves portability, consistency and pace of lab processes.  ( Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool | Getty Images )

The Lab-on-chip technique uses silicon-based molecular detection platform that helps not only in detecting cancer at an early stage, but also facilitates development of feasible diagnostic tests.

What's Lab-On-A-Chip (LOC) Technique?

Lab-on-a-chip is the technique of integrating numerous laboratory functions on one particular chip, which can be as small as few millimeters. This compact chip has lower fabrication cost and just requires small fluid volumes. The LOC allows parallel processing and has a more rapid analysis and response time.

Fight Against Cancer Simplified With The LOC Procedure

The fight against cancer takes a forward leap as an in-timely and reliable diagnosis is made possible using the LOC procedure. A group of engineers and scientists from Brigham Young University and University of California have put together the method of processing bio-molecular samples from blood. The method illustrated in Biomicrofluidics, indicates usage of silicon based molecular detection platform to spot and examine several targets at a time.

The tricky and successful procedure was led by Holger Schmidt, an electrical engineering professor at the University of California and Aaron Hawkins, a physics professor at Brigham Young University. It included development and testing of each and every chip for multiple functions. The functions ranged from filtering of blood cells without choking the filter to proper analysis of optical data for generating right excitation pattern on the silicon chip.

"Our approach uses optofluidic chips where both fluid processing and optical sensing are done on a chip, allowing for further miniaturization and performance enhancements of the chip system," said Schmidt, in a press release.

The published conference paper stated that the idea behind the procedure was processing of bio-molecular samples from blood. Spectral multiplexing produced by MMI waveguides was used to spot and identify two sorts of melanoma cancer DNA on an optofluidic platform. The cancer DNA biomarkers in blood serum were isolated with the help of solid-phase extraction procedure.

Lab-On-Chip Technique, Future Of Molecular Biology And Life Sciences

The next move for the team is to consider the research for real clinical samples and identify individual DNA biomarkers. The near future will see the building of new instruments for molecular diagnostics with usage in oncology and infectious disease detection, both viruses and bacteria.

Furthermore, the chips are helpful in researches related to life sciences especially in molecular biology as they could be used in the analysis of single nano- and microparticles in place of expensive equipment, said Schmidt in a press release.

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