4 Applications for Microfluidic Diagnostic Devices
Microfluidic devices are becoming more and more popular in the diagnostic field for their speed, reliability, and ease of use. Even better, the low cost of these devices makes them an appealing point-of-care option. Microfluidic diagnostic devices are doing more than creating a profitable market, though. The faster sample processing times and more accurate results are creating revolutionary impacts in multiple aspects of medical care. From mitigating the spread of infectious diseases to supporting faster and more successful cancer treatments, here are four applications for microfluidic diagnostic devices.
Efficient and reliable diagnostic tools are the key to fighting the spread of infectious diseases. Small and accessible microfluidic devices are an effective tool for clinics and households alike. When an infected patient receives an early diagnosis either at home or at their doctor’s office, they can start the treatment process much sooner. Moreover, timely diagnoses make it easier for patients to stay home and prevent further spread of the disease—especially in the case of home testing devices. Instead of going to the doctor’s office, sitting in a busy waiting room, and interacting with the doctor, nurses, and technicians, an individual can receive fast and accurate results at home. Limiting the spread of a disease eases strain on healthcare facilities, making treatment easier and more accessible for sick patients. Early and accessible diagnosis also acts as a first line of defense against re-emerging diseases like malaria or tuberculosis.
Today’s cancer treatments are more effective after early detection. A fast, accurate, and accessible diagnosis increases an individual’s chances of survival. Microfluidics have an invaluable potential in the field of cancer detection, and experts make new advancements every year. Currently, healthcare professionals use microfluidics devices as a way to identify genetic mutations—like DNA or miRNA mutations—that are linked to breast cancer. Microfluidics diagnostic devices offer a higher throughput in less time than previous diagnostic tools, which means experts can use these devices to analyze a higher sample volume in less time. As more types of devices and diagnostic methods emerge, microfluidics continue to prove themselves in the field of cancer detection and research.
Microfluidics device design experts are constantly pushing the boundaries of what these tools can do. When healthcare experts developed a new microfluidic chip that could detect specific antibodies in a blood sample, they opened the door to autoimmune disorder applications for microfluidic diagnostic devices. Autoimmune diseases cause antibodies to attack body tissue rather than harmful foreign objects like they’re supposed to. This causes health problems that can affect skin, joints, blood vessels, and more. A microfluidics device that can measure the number of autoimmune antibodies in a blood sample can revolutionize autoimmune detection at the point-of-care level.
Like cancer, cardiovascular disease treatments are more effective after early detection. Current detection techniques for cardiovascular diseases are complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. Patients, doctors, and researchers alike would benefit from more timely and accessible diagnostic methods. Lab-on-chip microfluidics devices present the opportunity for a breakthrough. These devices can sense and analyze biomarkers at the cellular level. Microfluidic devices offer better sample preparation, faster and more accurate results from chemical manipulation and reaction, and portability for ease of use. These improved diagnostics aid in lowering mortality rates for cardiovascular diseases and allow researchers to learn more about these conditions, their causes, and their treatments.