Clinical Utility of a Lab-on-a-Chip Diagnostic

Catherine Klapperich. Ph.D.POC system
Associate Professor – Biomedical Eng
Associate Professor – Mechanical Eng
Boston University – Engineering
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Alexis Sauer-Budge. Ph.D.coulter_POC_chip
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor – Biomedical Eng
Senior Research Scientist
Boston University – Engineering
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no-photo Christine Odell, M.D.
Assistant Professor – Pediatrics
Boston University – School of Medicine
Boston University Medical Center – Pediatrics

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The field of infectious disease diagnostics has traditionally relied upon culture for identification of pathogens, which is a time-intensive process. Thus, clinicians typically make drug therapy choices based on clinical presentation, but in the absence of pathogen identification. Advances in clinical diagnostics have enabled some truly rapid tests (e.g. dipstick immunoassays), but these tests typically lack the sensitivity required for most disease states. Instead, clinical diagnostics have been developing molecular techniques, but PCR typically requires time-intensive sample preparation by skilled technicians and dedicated laboratory space. As such, molecular diagnostic tests are typically batched in the clinical laboratory and the effective turn-around-time is 12-24 hours. In cases of suspected pathogens that are easily spread (and thus require additional isolation precautions) or life-threatening, and when identification of the pathogen informs drug therapy choices a point-of-care diagnostic would greatly improve the standard of care.

OBJECTIVE: The development of a completely automated lab-on-a-chip molecular diagnostic platform for point-of-care infectious disease diagnostics to reduce time to I) diagnosis, 2) appropriate drug therapy, and 3) appropriate isolation procedures, thereby reducing course of the disease and spread of infections.  The platform utilizes Dr. Catherine Klapperich’s previously developed porous polymer monolith microfluidic sample preparation technology.  The team has successfully demonstrated the functionality of the disposable lab-on-a-chip and associated instrument to detect bacteria, and propose to extend this work to detect a pathogen (influenza) in clinical samples to mitigate the final major risk of the integrated technology.

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Biomedical Microdevices and Microenvironments Lab

Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology