Cervical cancer gets microchip treatment
Cancer markers are detected using polymer microchips
A disposable microchip will help make cancer detection faster
Anja Gulliksen, working at biotechnology company Norchip and Oslo University, and colleagues have demonstrated a microchip system that detects the cancer marker human papilloma virus (HPV), a prerequisite for developing cervical cancer.
The detection limit for their system is comparable to conventional routine diagnostic methods although the volumes required are much smaller. This means that the microchip and its detection system have the potential to be used at the point of care.
The system detects high-risk HPV types using real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) performed in the copolymer microchip. The small volume sample is distributed into parallel reaction channels by the microchip. In future it is hoped that several different target molecules could be detected from just one sample.
Gulliksen and her group suggest the possibility of integrating the detection microchip with a sample preparation microchip. 'Our vision is to be able to produce a portable hand-held bioactive micro-TAS [total analysis system],' says Gulliksen. The group envisages a setup that is easy enough to be used by anyone and cost-effective enough to be accessible to all.
Gulliksen notes that high quality sample preparation is crucial for validating the technology and for them to be able to achieve that they will need to have a well functioning sample preparation microchip that will work for any sample material.