Highly-integrated lab-on-chip system for point-of-care multiparameter analysis
A novel innovative approach towards a marketable lab-on-chip system for point-of-care in vitro diagnostics is reported. In a consortium of seven Fraunhofer Institutes a lab-on-chip system called "Fraunhofer ivD-platform" has been established which opens up the possibility for an on-site analysis at low costs. The system features a high degree of modularity and integration. Modularity allows the adaption of common and established assay types of various formats. Integration lets the system move from the laboratory to the point-of-need. By making use of the microarray format the lab-on-chip system also addresses new trends in biomedicine. Research topics such as personalized medicine or companion diagnostics show that multiparameter analyses are an added value for diagnostics, therapy as well as therapy control. These goals are addressed with a low-cost and self-contained cartridge, since reagents, microfluidic actuators and various sensors are integrated within the cartridge. In combination with a fully automated instrumentation (read-out and processing unit) a diagnostic assay can be performed in about 15 min. Via a user-friendly interface the read-out unit itself performs the assay protocol, data acquisition and data analysis. So far, example assays for nucleic acids (detection of different pathogens) and protein markers (such as CRP and PSA) have been established using an electrochemical read-out based on redoxcycling or an optical read-out based on total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF). It could be shown that the assay performance within the cartridge is similar to that found for the same assay in a microtiter plate. Furthermore, recent developments are the integration of sample preparation and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on-chip. Hence, the instrument is capable of providing heating-and-cooling cycles necessary for DNA-amplification. In addition to scientific aspects also the production of such a lab-on-chip system was part of the development since this heavily affects the success of a later market launch. In summary, the Fraunhofer ivD-platform covers the whole value chain ranging from microfluidics, material and polymer sciences, assay and sensor development to the production and assembly design. In this consortium the gap between diagnostic needs and available technologies can be closed.
Bier, Frank F.