Device tests thousands of stem cells super fast

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Institute for Molecular Engineering researchers have developed a “lab-on-a-chip” that could help us understand how single stem cells react to different molecules and environments. (Credit: Zhang et al.)

A new “lab-on-a-chip” can examine thousands of individual live cells over a weeklong period, performing experiments that would take more than 1 million steps in a laboratory.

The credit-card-sized, microfluidic device not only saves time and money, but also offers a new glimpse into how single stem cells react to different molecules and environments.

When researchers examined neural stem cells on the device and analyzed the data, they found several new rules that determine the timing and signaling sequences necessary for the cells to differentiate or renew themselves. The finding could have implications in understanding brain development or in treating patients with immunotherapy.

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Ten Minute Blood Test To Identify Cancer Proteins

Ten Minute Blood Test To Identify Cancer Proteins 

 A microfluidic chip identifies 35 proteins in a drop of blood within 10 minutes.

Measuring proteins in the blood can help doctors determine patients’ cancer risk and monitor the health of the elderly and people with chronic diseases. But current methods for testing these proteins are too expensive and require too much blood to be performed regularly. A microfluidic chip in clinical trials does on a single chip in 10 minutes what normally takes multiple technicians hours to do–and with just a single drop of blood. Researchers hope to make bedside diagnostics based on blood proteins a reality by bringing down the cost of such tests by at least an order of magnitude.

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