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Chip to Evaluate Health of Immune System from Blood Sample

October 17, 2019

Lab on a chip to test health of white blood cells

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a lab-on-a-chip system that can identify the health aspects of a person’s immune system from a drop of their blood, within minutes.

Using a combination of microfluidics – tiny microscopic channels that can isolate white blood cells from blood – and electrical sensors, the new chip was able to detect differences in the electrical properties of white blood cells taken from healthy and diabetic patients.

The proof of concept device may one day help doctors to quickly gain insight into a person’s immune system, and spot early signs of inflammation and infection that could signal the need for further in-depth tests.

Designed and built by Assistant Professor Hou Han Wei and Assistant Professor Holden Li from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, their invention, if successful in further laboratory and clinical assessments, could be turned into a portable device suitable for family clinics and polyclinics.

A prototype device and the engineering principles behind it were reported in two peer-reviewed journals: Lab on a Chip earlier this year and Biosensors and Bioelectronics in October last year.

As immune health is often implicated in cardiovascular diseases, the scientists say that their device can potentially be an additional screening tool for doctors to use for early detection of heart diseases. In Singapore, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 30.1 per cent of all deaths in 2017 while diabetes is a serious health problem which affects about 10 per cent of the world’s population.

See Full Press Release: ​NTU Singapore scientists build chip to analyse health of white blood cells

Written by: Nanyang Technological University

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