Silk microchip for rapid medical testing

June 12, 2010 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

Silk could provide a sophisticated new way of monitoring health, Peter Domachuk, a physicist from the University of Sydney, has found.

He and his colleagues have created microchips using silk fibres. In the lab they’ve demonstrated that these microchips can measure oxygen using haemoglobin embedded in the silk.

Their aim is to embed a wide range of proteins so they can run dozens of blood test simultaneously at the point of care instead of waiting for the pathology lab.

“We hope that within the decade our silk chips will be at work in every hospital, GP clinic and home,” says Peter who developed the idea of using natural fibres in medical devices while working with Fiorenzo Omenetto and David Kaplan at Tufts University, Boston USA.

Silk fibres, he says, can be formed into tiny platforms or “bio-chips” that should allow medical testing and measuring of vital signs to be undertaken more rapidly and cheaply than current technology allows. His work will be presented for the first time in public this week at Fresh Science – a national science talent search – at the Melbourne Museum. Peter is one of 16 winners from across Australia.

The protein that underpins the strength of silk, fibroin, can be purified to form a clear material that can be used to display tiny drops of thousands of different biochemical compounds in patterns where they are no farther apart than the width of a human hair. These test compounds can then be simultaneously exposed to and react with body fluids such as human blood.

Source Link : Fibashion.com

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