Academics at the University of Southampton have developed a hand-held device that can be used to screen blood samples instantaneously.
The device uses a chip, which is a microfluidic device with electrodes positioned in channels along its length. The blood flows through the device and the count of white blood cells is recorded. The different cells are distinguished by their unique electrical properties. The device can differentiate Monocytes, Neutrophils and T lymphocytes, which are all important for diagnosing varying diseases/illnesses.
It is hoped that integration of red blood cell and platelet count can occur to further enhance the functionality of the device.
What this device means to diagnosis of blood presenting illness is that a fast on the spot preliminary blood test can be carried out at any doctors surgery at a minute cost. As each chip used for an individual person will cost a few pence and the device itself only £1000.
This would eliminate the need for a patient to give a blood sample that must be sent away to a lab for analysis, thus cutting down time of diagnosis. With many diseases of the blood fast detection and intervention is critical. So this device would pave the way for faster treatment and a more cost effective blood screening process. – CT
Source: University of Southampton