Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform, SpinDx, that they believe will be faster, less expensive, and more versatile than current medical diagnostic tools. The technology can determine a patient’s white blood cell count, analyze protein markers, and process up to 64 assays from a single sample in minutes.
"Patients have become accustomed to an initial visit, some tests, samples that are sent off to a far-away lab, results that may take up to a week or more, more tests, various technicians, and charges every step of the way," says Anup Singh, manager of Sandia's biotechnology and bioengineering department.
The SpinDx platform can analyze small sample sizes, where a patient merely has to provide a pinprick sample of blood for analysis. The analysis time is only 15 min, and results can be delivered to the physician's computer. The device uses a spinning disk, much like a CD player, to manipulate a sample. The disks contain commercially available reagents and antibodies specific to each protein market.
Under a National Institutes of Health grant led by Singh, Sandia researchers also adapted the lab-on-a-disk platform for toxin diagnostics. Consequently, SpinDx also has potential applications in both homeland security (fighting bioterrorism) and in food safety testing. Sandia officials are seeking industry partners to license and commercialize the technology.
Sandia National Laboratories, www.sandia.gov