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Fri Oct 27 08:02:49 PDT 2023

Medgadget (Medical Technology) Daily Digest (Unofficial)


( Device Vibrates DNA for Highly Sensitive Detection
Oct 26th 2023, 16:15

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a new method of detecting very small amounts of DNA. The breakthrough could allow clinicians to spot genetic markers of disease at the point-of-care, as the approach does not require conventional laboratory analysis, which is usually time-consuming and costly. In fact, the approach has led to a 100-fold increase in DNA detection sensitivity, with no corresponding increase in cost. The technology relies on the tendency of DNA oligomers to ‘dance’ when they are exposed to an alternating electric current, which allows the researchers to identify target DNA by analyzing its oscillation frequency. Happily, the method works with very small amounts of target DNA, and therefore exhibits very high sensitivity.

Detecting DNA is the basis for many diagnostic texts. Conventional approaches cannot detect tiny amounts of DNA, and often require target DNA in a sample to be amplified significantly before detection. This adds lots of extra steps, additional expensive reagents and expensive equipment, and takes a long time. There are also several substances present in biological samples that can interfere with this process and make it more difficult to obtain reliable results. Techniques that allow for small amounts of DNA to be detected successfully, without interference from other factors, could be a game-changer in point-of-care diagnostics.

“DNA detection is in the center of bioengineering,” said Jinglei Ping, a researcher involved in the study. “Everyone wants to detect the DNA at a low concentration with a high sensitivity. And we just developed this method to improve the sensitivity by about 100 times with no cost.”

The key to this new approach is the oscillation frequency of the target DNA when it is exposed to an alternating electric field within the device. “We let the DNA dance,” said Ping. “When the strands of DNA dance, they have a specific oscillation frequency.” This oscillation frequency represents a hallmark that allows the researchers to identify the strands of interest, very rapidly. The approach takes just minutes and given that the device is relatively small and portable, point-of-care analysis is a key attribute.

“This makes it suitable for point of care,” said Ping. “Usually, we provide samples to a lab and they can provide the results quickly or slowly, depending on how fast they go, and it can take 24 hours or longer. It can be used at places where resources are limited. I went to a country and the doctor usually goes to a village once or twice a year, and now, maybe they can have a base that has this kind of tool and they’ll have the chance to test for it quickly and easily.”

Study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: ( Nanomechanoelectrical approach to highly sensitive and specific label-free DNA detection

Via: ( University of Massachusetts Amherst

( Microfluidic System Incorporates Eight Organ Tissues for Drug Testing
Oct 26th 2023, 16:05

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a sophisticated microfluidic system that incorporates tissue from up to eight different organ systems. The technology is unprecedented in allowing researchers to study complex interactions between different organs during disease. Moreover, it also allows for more comprehensive drug testing that investigates the effects of drug candidates on multiple organ systems at once. Called Lattice, the system is a significant advancement over pre-existing in vitro systems, which typically only allow researchers to study two organ tissues at once. The entire system fits into a space the size of a child’s shoebox, and can be connected to a computer to control how nutrient-rich media flows into and out of each organ system.

Microfluidic systems have precipitated a paradigm shift in how we can explore physiological and pathological phenomena. These devices represent an efficient and sophisticated method to emulate complex organ systems, and are highly miniaturized, significantly reducing the amount of cells, extra equipment and expensive reagents that are required for such research. They beat traditional in vitro equipment, such as large well plates and Petri dishes, into the ground on many fronts. Now, a new system can emulate up to eight organ systems, and track their interactions.

“When something’s happening in the body, we don’t know exactly who’s talking to whom,” said Julie Kim, a researcher involved in the study. “Currently, scientists use dishes that have one or two cell types, and then do in-depth research and analysis, but Lattice provides a huge advancement. This platform is much better suited to mimic what’s happening in the body, because it can simulate so many organs at once.”   

The organ tissue samples are housed in small wells, with microfluidic channels joining them. The researchers can control the flow of nutrient-rich media to each well using a computer, allowing them unprecedented control over diseased modelling. So far, the researchers have used the device to study polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

“What we can do with Lattice is start manipulating and controlling which organ is driving the disease,” said Kim. “So, in one experiment, we might start with a PCOS ovary to see how it impacts the liver or muscles. Another experiment might examine if it is the high insulin associated with the disease that’s driving the different organ systems to behave erratically. We can control the tissues and order them in specific ways.”

See a Northwestern video about the technology:

Study in journal Lab on a Chip: ( A New Tissue-Agnostic Microfluidic Device to model physiology and disease: The Lattice Platform

Via: ( Northwestern University

Forwarded by:
Michael Reeder LCPC
Baltimore, MD

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