Unprecedented efforts are being directed at overcoming the challenges of delivering healthcare in low income countries globally. Previous, though well-intentioned, attempts to implement technologies to improve healthcare have largely failed. “Known, effective, and cheap” are necessary but insufficient criteria for successful Global Health technologies. However, much has been learned. The CIMIT Global Health Initiative Forum on January 8th seeks to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities in this field. Two CIMIT funded researchers will highlight their current work in the realm of diagnostic testing utilizing microfluidic technology directed at conditions ranging from Avian Flu through HIV. Microfluidics holds significant promise to allow rapid, accurate, and inexpensive diagnostic testing in settings without supportive laboratory infrastructure or personnel. Please come and join in the discussion!
Moderator: Kristian Olson, MD, MPH, Clinical Educator Svc, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital; CIMIT Global Health Initiative Leader; MGH Center for Global Health Senior Advisor; Instructor, Harvard Medical School, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disposable Molecular Diagnostics: Microfluidic Laboratories for the Field
Catherine Klapperich, PhD, Assistant Professor of Manufacturing and Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, email@example.com
The impact of infectious disease on resource poor areas of the world is devastating. It is unlikely that the financial climate surrounding drug development for diseases prevalent in third world countries will soon change. Our best approach at dealing with some of these diseases will be prevention efforts assisted by the widespread availability of inexpensive and accurate diagnostics. Probes to amplify and identify microbial or viral nucleic acids are available for almost every well known disease vector. Assays for serum antibodies to many organisms are also well documented. Dedicated engineering of test protocols (patient
sample preparation, dilutions, washing, blocking, and detection) and devices is required to move these technologies out of the research laboratory and into the field where they can have a more immediate impact on world health. Catherine Klapperich’s team is focused on designing and prototyping disposable microfluidic platforms to enable molecular diagnostic testing using patient samples in locations far from a full service laboratory. Device design goals are low production costs, long shelf lives and relative ease of use. This talk will cover the formulation, fabrication and testing of microfluidic solid phase extraction columns based on polymer monoliths impregnated with nanoparticulate inclusions for protein and nucleic acid isolation from patient samples. Mammalian and bacterial cell lysis in microfluidic chips will be covered in addition to a discussion of strategies for micro and nanoscale enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Practical concerns about the direct use of patient samples (blood, urine, saliva, and stool) will also be addressed.
Disposable, Point-of-care Microchips for CD4 Counts in Resource Limited Settings
Utkan Demirci, PhD, Instructor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Bio-Acoustic-MEMS in Medicine: BAMM Labs, firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 35 million HIV-infected people live in the developing world, yet it is estimated that only one in ten persons infected with HIV has been tested and knows his/her HIV status. The U.S National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicted that the number of HIV-infected individuals in the developing world would rise to 80 million by 2010. Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV has been available in developed countries for more than a decade. However, worldwide, less than 10% (1.3 million) of all the infected individuals are currently receiving treatment, since most affected persons live in developing countries. Part of the problem associated with existing ART delivery systems are the limitations of conventional methods to diagnose and monitor infected individuals living in rural poor communities. In order to increase access to HIV care and to improve treatment outcomes requires an urgent development of low-cost diagnostic tools for developing countries[2-5].
Utkan Demirci’s team’s objective is to develop novel point-of-care low cost diagnostics to bridge emerging engineering nano- and micro-scale solutions to HIV infected patients at resource limited. This laboratory at the interface of Harvard and MIT specializes in applying micro- and nano-scale techniques to problems in medicine. The Lab’s target is a point-of-care, low-cost (<$1), disposable, microfluidic device which uses a fingerstick blood sample (<10 µl) and produces a CD4 count rapidly (<1 min) with on-chip sample handling and will greatly accelerate CD4 counting in resource-limited settings.