Reusable Chip Quickly Detects Type-1 Diabetes at a Cost of Only $20

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Researches from Stanford University have developed a chip that detects type-1 diabetes quickly and cheaply.

Often affecting children, Diabetes is a disease in which speed is necessary to combat it. The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat. Current tests unfortunately are a time-consuming and costly process, and requires radioactive materials and several days to complete. This new chip however, eliminates the wait time and is a much cheaper alternative.

Utilizing gold nanoparticles, the chip causes fluorescent materials to glow when antibodies are detected. The chip can then be re-used up to 15 times, and only requires a pinprick of blood from the patient. Patients luckily will no longer need to go through the time consuming process of going to a lab to have their blood drawn for testing. While the cost and speed will most certainly be a boon for hospitals and patients in the United States, the researches are setting their sights abroad.

Often, standard tests utilizing radioactive materials are too expensive to be administered in developing countries. With this new chip however, the researchers hope to be able to fight diabetes globally. As stated by Brian Feldman, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology and the Bechtel Endowed Faculty Scholar in Pediatric Translational Medicine, “we would like this to be a technology that satisfies global need.”

While the researchers have filed a patent on the microchip, they are also working on launching a startup company to help get the method approved by the FDA and bring it to market. They hope that the device is cheap enough that population-wide antibody testing will be able to be done to determine who is at risk of diabetes.

The sooner the device hits the market, the better. It will make those who have, and are at risk of, Diabetes able to combat the disease in a cheaper and timelier manner. 

Image: Stanford University

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