About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

New Treatment for Cancer and Autoimmune Disorders: Lab-on-a-chip Technology

by Adeline Dorcas on May 28, 2018 at 6:21 PM
Font : A-A+

New Treatment for Cancer and Autoimmune Disorders: Lab-on-a-chip Technology

Lab-on-a-chip technology can lead to new treatments for cancer and autoimmune disorders, reports a new study.

Developed by an Australian-Swiss research team, the technology offers researchers unprecedented insights into how individual cells behave - something that scientists are discovering is far more complex than previously thought.

Advertisement


The researchers from RMIT University, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne joined forces to build a miniature biosensor that allows scientists to isolate single cells, analyse them in real time and observe their complex signalling behaviour without disturbing their environment.

Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell, Director of RMIT's MicroNano Research Facility, said single cell analysis held great promise for developing new treatments for diseases but a lack of effective analysis technologies was holding back research in the field.
Advertisement

"We know a lot about how groups of cells communicate to fight disease or respond to infections but we still have a lot to learn about individual cells," Mitchell said.

"Studies have recently shown that you can take two cells of the same type and give them the same treatment but they will respond very differently.

"We don't know enough about the underlying mechanisms to understand why this happens and we don't have the right technologies to help scientists figure it out.

"Our solution to this challenge is a complete package - an integrated optofluidic biosensor that can isolate single cells and monitor the chemicals they produce in real-time over at least 12 hours.

"It's a powerful new tool that will give us a deeper fundamental understanding of cell communication and behaviour. These insights will open the way to develop radically new methods for diagnosing and treating disease."

Human cells communicate that something is wrong in complex and dynamic ways, producing various chemical substances that signal to other cells what they need to do. When an infection is detected, for example, white blood cells will spring into action and release special proteins to fight and eliminate the intruders.

Understanding how individual cells interact and communicate is critical to developing new therapies for serious diseases, to better harness the power of the body's own immune system or precisely target defective cells.

In a paper published in the high-impact journal Small, the research team demonstrate how the technology can be used to examine the secretion of cytokines from single lymphoma cells.

Cytokines are small proteins produced by a broad range of cells to communicate to other cells, and they are known to play an important role in responses to infection, immune disorders, inflammation, sepsis, and cancer.

The study found the lymphoma cells produced cytokine in different ways, unique to each cell, enabling researchers to determine each cell's "secretion fingerprints."

"If we can build up a clear picture of this behavior, this would help us sort good cells from bad and enable us to one day develop treatments that precisely target just those bad cells," Mitchell said.

How it works

The biosensor is the latest adaptation of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip technology developed in RMIT's MicroNano Research Facility.

A microfluidic chip contains tiny channels, pumps, and processors, enabling precise and flexible manipulation of fluids. Essentially, microfluidics does for fluids what microelectronics does for information - integrating vast quantities of tiny processing elements into a small chip that is portable, fast and can be produced quickly and efficiently.

The new cost-effective and scalable technology is lightweight and portable, combining microfluidics with nanophotonics.

Compatible with traditional microscopes, the biosensor is a thin glass slide coated with a gold film, perforated with billions of tiny nanoholes arranged in a specific pattern. These nanoholes transmit a single color of light, due to optical phenomena are known as the plasmonic effect.

By observing the color transmitted, researchers can determine the presence of minute quantities of specific chemicals on a slide without any external labels. This detection method enables the continuous monitoring of the chemicals produced from a single cell in real time.

The nanophotonic sensor is coupled to a microfluidic integrated circuit with fluid channels about the size of a human hair. The circuit includes valves to isolate the cell and concentrate its secretions, and systems to regulate the temperature and humidity to sustain the cell.

The work is a collaboration between the laboratory of Bionanophotonic Systems at EPFL, Switzerland, the Integrated Photonics, and Applications Centre in the School of Engineering at RMIT and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Switzerland.

RMIT microfluidic chips have been pivotal in enabling research across a range of areas - from water quality monitoring to the development of point-of-care blood tests for suspected heart attacks that could deliver results while a patient is still in an ambulance.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
Television Binge-Watching May Boost the Risk of Deadly Blood Clots
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cancer and Homeopathy Cancer Facts Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Myasthenia Gravis Vitiligo Autoimmune Disorders Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) Microscopic Polyangiitis Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases 

Recommended Reading
New Lab-on-a-chip Device Mimics Eye Damage
An eye neuron network model to study retinal diseases has been created by Houston Methodist ......
New Lab-on-a-Chip found for Detecting Pathogens
Molecular detection of pathogens can be done easily by using a new lab-on-a-chip, reveals study....
Lab-on-a-chip Offers Easy Tests
A cheap and highly portable blood test has proven effective disease detection, reveals study. The .....
Analysis Of Adipose Tissue on Microfluidic Chips
In contrast to embryonic stem cells, when adult stem cells divide, their offspring are only able to ...
Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system fails to recognize the body as ‘self’ and attacks ...
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA)
Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) is a type of vasculitis that usually affects the upper airway...
Microscopic Polyangiitis
Microscopic polyangitis, infection of small blood vessels, presents with general symptoms of fever, ...
Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is the commonest disorder of neuromuscular transmission. Autoimmune myasthenia gra...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Vitiligo
Vitiligo is a skin disease characterized by patches of unpigmented skin. Vitiligo is usually slowly ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
ASK A DOCTOR ONLINE
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)